What is a Second-Parent Adoption in Texas?
When it comes to marriage and adoption for LGBTQ+ couples in Texas, things can become very complicated. It wasn’t until almost two (2) years ago that Texas finally legalized same-sex marriage. So, once a couple is married, how do they go about starting a family? Obviously, an LGBTQ+ couple can’t have their own biological children. An LGBTQ+ lawyer can help with a second-parent adoption. There are other options, of course, including:
- Adopt a child
- Use a surrogate
- Have in-vitro fertilization
- Adopt a child that one partner already has
For LGBTQ+ parents, these may be the only options when it comes to having children. And, as long as you stay together, it doesn’t matter how you start your family. It just matters that you get to have your family together.
The problem comes when a same-sex couple decides to get divorced or separated. Since only one child is the legal parent of your children, the other parent could be left with no parental rights in the event of a divorce.
LGBTQ+ attorneys in Houston can help you prepare for this. They can help you complete something called a second-parent adoption.
What is Second-Parent Adoption?
For years, when traditional couples get married, they have the ability to adopt their stepchildren. They complete something called a stepparent adoption. These adoptions are easier than a private adoption so long as you have consent from the biological parents.
Second-Parent adoption is similar to a stepparent adoption only it involves a gay couple. Rather than adopt your stepchildren, you’re adopting children that your partner has already adopted.
The court won’t allow a same-sex, unmarried couple adopt children together. So, for all those LGBTQ+ parents who adopted children prior to 2017, there’s only one way for their new spouse or partner to become a parent to these children.
Attorneys in Houston can help members of the LGBTQ+ community complete second-parent adoptions. The process is very close to that of stepparent adoption. It depends on whether or not you can get the consent of the biological parents.
LGBTQ+ Attorneys in Houston Know the Process for Second-Parent Adoptions
A second-parent adoption allows children to have two separate adoptive parents. In order to apply for second-parent adoption, you have to be married to the person who adopted the children in the first place. There are also cases where legal partners can apply to be a second-parent as well.
The process for a second-parent adoption is as follows:
- First, you have to file a petition for adoption.
- Next, you must terminate current parental rights. Both biological parents must agree to the adoption. If not, the parent can file an opposition to your second-adoption. If you are unable to locate one or both of the parents, you can ask the court to terminate their rights for you.
- Get a background check and fingerprinting done – There are several background checks you need to complete in Texas in order to adopt a child. The same is true for second-parent adoption.
- Complete a home study – Since your spouse is already the adoptive parent, this shouldn’t be difficult. You’re sharing a home with him already.
- Attend the adoption hearing – The court will either approve or deny your adoption. Your LGBTQ+ attorney will attend this hearing with you.
- Finalize the adoption – To finalize the adoption, you’ll have to show the following:
- Clean criminal background
- Fingerprints came back with no issues
- Prove that the child has lived with you for at least 6 months
- Show consent of any children over 12
- Proof that you have been married to their parent for at least 1 year
If you prove this information, the court will likely finalize your adoption.
Contact an LGBTQ+ Attorney in Houston, Texas
If you and your partner are considering a second-adoption in Texas, you need to call an LGBTQ+ attorney in Houston. Whether you’re looking to adopt a child together or one that you already have, you’ll need to file an adoption petition.
Since you’re already together with the child’s biological or adoptive parent, the process should go smoothly. The only issues you can run into are:
- The other biological parent won’t consent to the second-adoption
- You have a poor criminal background
- Your home study doesn’t go well
Of course, there are other obstacles you may face. That’s why it’s important that you have an LGBTQ+ family law attorney in Houston, Texas. Call and schedule your initial consultation today. Get the peace of mind that you and your family deserve.
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