Dallas Adoption Attorney Lynn Carroll
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If you are reading this section of my web site, congratulations are in order. You are contemplating making a child a part of your life, and your family's life. I believe that children are our most precious possession, and my law firm would be pleased to assist you in making your dream a reality. CONTACT ME AT 214-749-7777 or for more detailed information go to http://www.carroll-lawfirm.com.
What is the typical process for an adoption?
First, the rights of one or both of the child's natural parents must be terminated. Sometimes a parent will agree to give up their rights to a child, and they will sign over their rights. On other occasions, a legal parent's rights must be terminated because of non-support, abandonment, neglect or abuse.
If you are trying to qualify for placement of a child, you will need to have a pre-placement home study done to establish that your home is a proper environment for a child to live in. If the child is being placed by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, a licensed child placing agency, or the child's parent or guardian, they are required to compile a report on the available health, social, educational, and genetic history of the child to be adopted. Note: This doesn't apply to step-parent adoptions.
After the child has been in your home for at least six months then a follow-up home study will have to be done to see how the child is adjusting.
You will need to have a fingerprint check done. Your fingerprints will be submitted to the state to be checked against criminal records to ensure that you don't have a conviction for a felony. Right after a petition to adopt is filed, this process should be started because it can take as long as 6 weeks to get the results back to the Court!
An attorney will be appointed to represent the child to make a recommendation to the Court as to whether or not placement is in the child's best interest.
Eventually, a judge will enter a ruling as to your request to adopt.
How long does it take to adopt a child?
If you are a step-parent seeking an adoption, an adoption typically takes about 6 months, although it can take significantly less or more, depending on who does the social study. Dallas and Tarrant county generally use Court investigators. Kaufman County, Rockwall, and Denton tend to order privately based social workers or counselors to do them. However, you can request that a Court order a specific person to do it. This is sometimes faster!
If the adoption is contested by a parent who does not want to give up their rights, it would not be unusual for it to take as long as a year.
If you are waiting on placement of a child, it will seem like forever, but actual time simply depends on the agency you are dealing with.
What is the process for terminating a parent's rights?
You have to file a petition to terminate the person's rights. That is usually done with a petition for adoption. If you are lucky, the parent will sign what is called an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights. However, if a parent is unwilling to give up his or her rights, you will have to establish one of the statutory grounds for termination. A partial list is shown below:
(1) that the parent has:
(a) voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another not the parent and expressed an intent not to return;
(b) voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another not the parent without expressing an intent to return, without providing for the adequate support of the child, and remained away for at least 3 months;
(c) voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another without providing adequate support of the child and remained away for a period of at least six months;
(d) knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain in conditions or surroundings which endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child;
(e) engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who engaged in conduct which endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child;
(f) failed to support the child in accordance with the parent's ability during a period of one year ending within six months of the date of the filing of the petition;
(g) abandoned the child without identifying the child or funishing means of identification and the child's identity cannot be ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence
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