stepparent adoption
Stepparent adoption cases are not exactly the most common type of cases a family law attorney encounters. When it does happen, the other parent of the child is usually deceased or at least not actively involved with the child. This is usually the part of the case which is conflicted. The thing is, in order for a stepparent to legally adopt a child, the parental rights of the other parent should be terminated first. Some families are not too happy with this fact. In case you are a stepparent who is interested in starting the process of a stepparent adoption, you need a lot of information to help you through the tough parts. You might even need the assistance of an expert family lawyer. In family law, there are always steps to follow – just like in any aspect of the legal system. You will really need to complete each step and requirement if you want to have a successful adoption later on. There are also issues that are better off foreseen so load yourself up with information as early as possible to avoid facing difficulties later on your stepparent adoption case. Stepparents Gaining Rights and Duties Parental rights can be awarded by the court to a stepparent through an adoption.  As a stepparent, you can have the chance to act as a parent to your stepchild even if you are biologically unrelated. It is quite natural for a stepparent to want to have the right to make decisions for the child and to have the typical parental rights and duties of a child that he or she is already treating as his or her own. Stepparent adoptions are just like any normal adoption. However, it has particular requirements. These requirements include either having a deceased other parent or absentee […]

The Basics of Stepparent Adoption in Texas

Grounds for Divorce in Texas
Infertility, or when a woman is unable to conceive a child, is not a ground for divorce in Texas laws. Hence, it cannot be used as a means to dissolve a valid marriage. According to Texas family laws, there are only seven (7) grounds for divorce, and infertility does not fall into any of them. No-fault Divorce Generally, divorce grounds in Texas may be considered into two categories: the “no-fault” and “fault” divorces. One of the grounds falls under the “no-fault” divorce, one called “Insupportability” under the Texas Family Code, which is the first ground listed under such law. It basically means that neither party is solely responsible for the resulting divorce. Based on statute, it says, “on the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”  Fault Divorces The other six (6), as opposed to the first ground, are considered as “fault” divorces. This category is based on the assumption that one of the parties is at fault. Other Grounds for Divorce The second ground mentioned by the Family Code is Cruelty. What the statute says about it is that “the court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable”.  The third one mentioned is Adultery, such as when “the other spouse has committed adultery”.  The fourth is Conviction of a Felony, wherein the provision laid out three (3) ways when the court may grant divorce: If, during the marriage, the other spouse has been convicted of a […]

Is Infertility a Ground for Divorce?

adopting in texas
I. What is Adoption Adoption is when a person legally takes on the rights and obligations of being a parent to a child that is not his or her biological child. This means that those rights that originally belonged to the biological parents will be legally transferred to another person who is unrelated to the child. The natural parents of the child cannot just take back their already adopted child. Adoption is permanent in nature. Once the parental rights and authority of the natural parents are terminated through adoption, it is deemed as if the adoptive parents become the natural parents of the adopted child. Parental authority will be exercised solely and exclusively by the adoptive parents. For married couples, if one spouse pursues an adoption, the rights and duties of raising the adopted child will also be transferred to the other spouse. As for the rights of the adopted child, he or she has equal rights to that of the legitimate child of the adopters, should they have any. Once you become a parent, you will have the responsibility to care for the child and make decisions for his or her best interests, just like any other biological parent. You will also have rights over the person of the child such as the custody of the child. II. Adoption Law in Texas Texas allows for adoption. There are a couple of legal formalities to go through. The reason for this is because an adoptive relationship is permanent in nature. There are certain laws and regulations which set apart the adoption process in Texas from that of other states. A few steps may slightly vary among agencies but the overall process still remains the same. If you want to adopt, it is important to consult with a lawyer and be […]

Adoption in Texas

inheritance of adopted
Can the adopted child inherit from his or her adoptive parents? Yes. Under the Texas Probate Code, when a child is adopted legally or formally, they are treated in the same footing as a natural-born child of the adoptive parents. Therefore, if the decedent dies without a will, the adopted child has the same inheritance rights as the natural child. In cases of formal adoption, the state conducts an investigation to ensure that the adopting parents are qualified to adopt a child. The investigation may include but is not limited to inspecting their home and doing a background check on the applicants. The state must verify that the applicants have enough resources to provide for the adopted child. Once everything is in place, the judge then approves the petition for adoption. The adopted child will legally become the child of the adopting parents and he or she enjoys the same rights as a natural born child. This means that the inheritance rights of the adopted child extends not only to what he may inherit from the adopting parents but he or she will inherit from the adoptive parents’ decedents, such as the grandparents, and in some cases, uncles and aunts. Can the adopted child still inherit from his or her biological parents? Another issue at hand is whether or not the adopted child still has the right to inherit from his natural or biological parents. As a general rule, yes. The adopted child can inherit from both his or her birth parents and adoptive parents. This is only applicable if the natural or adoptive parents do not have testamentary wills and if there is no court order that especially prohibits a child to inherit from his or her natural parents. If the adoptive and natural parents have testamentary wills, their estate […]

What Can the Adopted Child Inherit?

Adopting a child is a big step and a decision that needs a lot of thinking through. A person who wishes to adopt assumes all the same legal rights and responsibilities as the biological or natural parent of the one being adopted. There are a couple of legal formalities to go through and this is because an adoptive relationship is permanent in nature. There are certain laws and regulations which set apart the adoption process in Texas from that of other states. A few steps may slightly vary among agencies but the overall process still remains the same. Adoption Requirements Any adult who is responsible enough has the capability to adopt a child under law of the state. Marriage or being married is not a requirement for adoption. However, if the adoptive parent is married, the spouse is required to be a party in the adoption petition. Legal proof of marriage or divorce should be submitted to the state authorities. The adoptive parent must show that he or she is financially stable or capable of taking care of the would-be adopted child. This does not necessarily mean that the adoptive parent must be independently wealthy or must own his or her own home. Maturity is the significant factor here to determine whether or not the applicant is capable of providing for a child’s needs, both short-term and long-term. Meetings and Training If one is interested in adoption, the first step is to go and find an information meeting sponsored and organized by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). These meetings and trainings happen throughout the year, free of charge, in the Dallas and Houston areas. DFPS staff will provide basic information on the adoption process. They will also answer any questions regarding adoption in general at the meeting. […]

How to Adopt in Texas

same sex couple
Same-sex marriage has only been legalized quite recently. If you are already married or you are wanting to marry and want to have children, that is not a problem. There are many same-sex couples who are very successful in parenting. There are many scenarios which could be at play here. It is possible that one or both of you already has a child or have children as the case may be. It is best to consult with a lawyer so you can make sure that you can make custody and support work without any problems in the future. Usually, same-sex couples do not have children before they entered into marriage with each other. In this case, adoption is the common course of action. Before, same-sex couples were required to adopt as two single people jointly adopting the same child and not as a couple. That means that one will go through the adoption first and complete the process and then after a period of six months, the other will go through the same adoption process. Under the revised rules of procedure, same-sex couples can now adopt jointly provided that they are married with each other. The process is now simpler. Jointly adopting is very important so that each parent will have the same rights and responsibilities towards the child. It is to protect your relationship with your child. The entire adoption process will have to take months. For how many months exactly? That we do not know. It will depend on the circumstances. The FBI will also have to background check the parents— biological and non-biological. Everything about you and your partner will be assessed. That includes your education, employment, financial situation, home environment, family history, and even health. The state of Texas requires prospective parents to participate in home […]

Same-sex Couples: Children and Adoption

family law attorney fees
    Family law cases can be daunting especially if it’s your face time to face it and you are not armed with enough information. You will surely have a ton of questions to ask. One of these questions will be how much hiring a family law attorney will cost you. Financial worries always try to make its way any legal case, and it’s mostly unavoidable in family law cases. In this article, we will provide you with an idea on how you will be billed by the family law attorney that you will hire to help you with the case.   As you are probably aware, family law cases are quite different from other types of civil cases such as property disputes and personal injury cases. More than these civil cases, family law cases are a lot more personal and it deals with people close to you, relationships and everything that is extremely important in your life. Because of this, you need to make sound decisions in choosing who will help you with your case and how much money you are planning to spend on it. You need to choose someone who can represent you properly and whom you can trust. As we have said many times before, choose a family law attorney whom you are comfortable with. The financial aspect of hiring an attorney also plays a huge role in choosing an attorney.     Understanding Your Attorney’s Retainer Fee     The retainer fee is basically the down-payment you pay to your family law attorney when you hire him or her. When you pay the retainer, it basically means that you now ‘retain’ the attorney to represent and guide you with your case. Usually, family law attorneys have a set retainer fee for each type of case […]

What to Expect for Attorney Billing

Determining How Much Child Adoption Costs You'd Have To Pay in Texas
Child adoption costs are one of the major considerations potential adoptive parents have when they consider adopting a child in Texas. There are a lot of preparations you’d have to go through if you are planning to adopt a child in Texas. You should definitely consider the emotional aspects of the adoption, as well as the financial aspects. Adoption can take a long time, and you will have to go through a complicated process. You should know how much you should expect in terms of child adoption costs before you embark on your adoption process. Not knowing what to expect will likely lead to frustration during the process. Requirements For Child Adoption One of the things that make up the most of your child adoption costs in Texas is complying with the requirements. Before you come up with the requirements, you first need to figure out whether or not you are eligible to adopt a child. You have to be at least 21 years old before you can adopt a child. The court will also examine your financial status, so it is important to have stable finances and good background. This will show that you will be able to provide the needs of your adoptive child as well as a safe environment. You will have to provide references to verify your income, lifestyle, and habits. You will also have to subject yourself to a criminal background check. You have to make sure that you do not have any history of abuse, neglect or harm to children, as well as family violence. The Department of Family and Protective Services will also check if you have family members who have been subject to DFPS investigation in the past. Officers from the DFPS will also check and view your home to conduct a […]

Adoption Costs in Texas