Under the law of Texas, for legal purposes, a child is only permitted to have one legal set of parents, either biological or adoptive. Adoption is the asking of the court to make people who are not already biological parents of a child the latter’s legal parents. These cases require the careful determination of the court of which parents will serve the overall best interest of the child. To assist the judges in deciding to choose the child’s official set of parents, the process requires a number of reports and specific studies to show the best interest of the child.
Persons Permitted to Adopt
Generally, any adult who is at least twenty-one (21) years old and is financially stable, is able to file for a petition with the court to be able adopt a child who has the capacity to be adopted. The capacity of the child to be adopted is dependent on the surrounding circumstances of the case. Explained below are a few common scenarios:
- Biological rights of the parents have been or will be terminated
A child can be adopted if each of his or her living parent’s rights over him or her has been terminated or will be terminated because of a suit for such purpose is filed with the Adoption lawsuit against them. The termination of parental rights may either be voluntarily or involuntarily.
- Stepparent Adoption
Without the need for the termination of the rights of both the biological parents of the child, stepparents can ask to adopt the latter. In this type of adoption, if a biological parent is married to the stepparent who is seeking adoption, the former may keep his or her parental rights. However, the other parent’s parental rights is still required to be terminated to give way for the parental rights of the adoptive stepparent. If both biological parents and stepparents want to share responsibilities when it comes to parenting, they should consider filing a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) rather than adoption.
If the child is at least two (2) years of age, a child can be adopted by an adult, provided one of the parents has had his or her rights terminated, and the remaining parent, whose rights have not been terminated, consents to adoption by the following:
- the child’s former stepparent;
- managing conservator; or
- person who has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for at least 6 months before filing for adoption.
No Parental Consent
A child may still be adopted by an adult, without the need for parental consent, if the child is at least two (2) years of age and one of the parents’ parental rights have been terminated. The person seeking the adoption must be the child’s former stepparent. The former stepparents must have been a managing conservator of the child or has had actual care, possession, and control of the latter for a period of one (1) year prior to filing for adoption.