Adult adoption Texas happens when an older adult adopts a younger adult that is not their biological child and creates a parent-child relationship with them.
The adopted adult could be a foster child, stepchild, or any other person that has some ties with the adopter and seeks to receive some benefits or privileges if associated with them.
This article will discuss the requirements for adult adoptions in Texas, the steps for Texas adoption, the petitioners and respondents in an adoption case, reasons for adoption, ways to avoid adoption pitfalls, etc. This article is a resourceful tool for someone who wants to understand the concept of adoption and create a parent-child relationship with an adult.
Adopting an Adult in Texas
The laws in Texas allow any adult to adopt the other provided they meet specific requirements. First, the person seeking to adopt the other must be a resident of Texas. Second, you can only adopt an adult if they are accepting or willing. If you prove these basic requirements to the court, the judge will likely give you the go-ahead with the adoption process in Texas.
You can file your adoption case in any district court within your county. You can also do this in any court that handles cases about family law. Like any other case, you’ll also need to pay filing fees. The official document to file your adoption case is an “Original Petition for Adoption of an Adult.”
You’ll be able to know the exact amount of fees charged by visiting the district clerk’s website where you filed the adoption case. In situations where you can’t pay the fees, you can ask the judge for a waiver. This implies that you’ll need to file additional paperwork indicating your inability to pay the fees.
Steps for Adopting an Adult
To adopt another person in Texas, you’ll need to adhere to specific procedures to ensure the entire process is successful. Below are steps you can apply to adopt an adult after meeting the basic requirements.
– Complete the Required Forms
The first step to legally adopting an adult is filing the required forms. You must type the relevant documents on a 28-line pleading paper. The relevant forms that an adopting parent must file include:
- Order of Adoption
- Petition for Approval of Adoption Agreement
- Adoption Agreement
- Consent of Spouse of Adopting Parent
- Consent of Spouse of Adopted Person
– File Adoption Petition
You can file your adoption petition in a family court, probate court, surrogate court, etc. In this step, you’ll need to visit the court clerk’s office to file your petition and pay the required fees. You’ll need to make copies of the petition document and leave the originals with the court, while the rest will be as personal records.
In situations where the adult to adopt is developmentally disabled, you’ll need to take additional steps to have their disability provided by the relevant authorities.
– Attend the Adoption Hearing
Once the court reviews and verifies relevant documents submitted during your adoption request, it will set a hearing date for the case. During the date of the hearing, all the concerned parties must attend. You may also need to inform the biological parents of the person you need to adopt about the notice of hearing.
During this time, the adopter and adoptee must answer a few questions before the court. After a successful adoption hearing, you’ll have the order of adoption signed by the judge.
– File Signed Order of Adoption
After the judge has signed the order of adoption, you’ll need to file it before the court. Next, you can request a certified copy of the order of adoption from the court for personal records. You should also confirm with the court clerk that you’ve met all the basic requirements to have your adoption legalized.
– Amend Birth Certificate
Once the court approves your Texas adoption, it will send a notice to the Office of Vital Records. The notice will outline the change in parenting for the adopted adult. After that, the Vital Records Office will contact you, asking whether you want to change the adopted adult’s birth certificate.
Once the changes are accepted and effected, the adoptee will have the privilege to request a copy of their new birth certificate. This step finalizes the adoption process in Texas.
Who Is the Petitioner and Respondent in an Adoption Case for Adults?
During the adoption of an adult in Texas, the “petitioner” is the person filing the case. As a petitioner, your role is to request the court to accept your plea to adopt another adult. If you have a spouse, the court will also list them as petitioners during the adoption case. In this kind of case, however, there’s no respondent. You won’t have to give notice of adoption, as is the case with child adoption or child protective services.
Since adults can make decisions independently, the adoption process is considered voluntary. Also, unlike child adoption, adults cannot be adopted involuntarily. You’ll first need to speak to the adult adoptee and have them sign a written document giving consent to their adoption.
Both parties must also attend a court session for the adoption case at least once. If one party feels they won’t manage to appear in court physically, they need to file a motion with the court and indicate the reasons for that.
Reasons for Adopting an Adult in Texas
The first and most common reason for adopting an adult is inheritance. In cases where you want to pass your real estate and other personal property to a person that isn’t your child or blood relative, adopting them makes things easier. With formal adoption, the law will recognize them as part of the beneficiaries or heirs to your property.
This is important when family members want to prevent the adopted person from inheriting part of your property when you die. Second, you may want to adopt an adult to formalize a parent-child relationship. If you previously lived with a stepchild or foster child and they’ve now reached 18 years, you may consider seeking adoption to formalize the relationship.
Adoption strengthens the relationship and gives them access to the same parental rights as your other children. Lastly, adoption is considered resourceful for someone that needs protective services or care. If someone becomes incapacitated and cannot care for themselves, having an adoption in place assures them of proper care. You’ll treat them as family members and have them enjoy family insurance.
Why Wait Until a Child Becomes an Adult To Start the Adoption Process?
First, you may consider adopting a child during adulthood because of the restrictive nature of the child’s biological parent (s). Some biological parent (s) may not approve of the adoption process and even attempt to be violent. However, if the child reaches 18 years, it becomes easier to adopt them because they’re now considered adults and can make personal decisions without influence from biological parents.
Second, a child may not want to consider someone currently raising them as their legal parent until they reach adulthood. After this, the child may want to express gratitude through formal adoption. Lastly, an adult-child may consider adoption afterward upon realizing the benefits that come with it, such as:
- A feeling of belonging and
Therefore, even after one reaches his 40s or 50s, he may want to consider formalizing adoption to appreciate the person (s) that helped raise them as foster or stepparents.
How To Avoid Pitfalls During Adoption
The first step to avoiding pitfalls during adoption is to ensure there exists some relationship between the adopter and adoptee. The court is more likely to grant the adoption if it establishes that both parties had a relationship that spanned many years. For instance, if a party had a mentor-mentee relationship that lasted for a decade, the court will easily grant the adoption.
Second, to avoid pitfalls during adoption, the adopter must be older than the adoptee. The court won’t allow you to adopt someone older than you since it will be harder for you to be considered their parent. Third, you should avoid any sexual relationship between the adoptor and adoptee since it’s a major pitfall for the success of your adoption.
The main aim of an adoption is to formalize a parent-child relationship and not to build a marital relationship. If the court establishes that you want to adopt someone for marital reasons, there’s a high chance that you’ll have the adoption rejected.
Lastly, ensure that you both reside in the same state to avoid the pitfall of not meeting residency requirements. You may have your quest for adoption denied if you want to adopt a person that resides in a different state.
What Happens After Finalizing the Adoption Process?
After you’ve completed the process of adopting an adult, they legally become your son or daughter. You’ll similarly treat the adopted adult as your naturally-born children. This also means that the adopted adult will have similar property rights as your other children. Once you’ve legally adopted someone, you’re free to list them as part of your heirs or beneficiaries.
Something else that happens after adult adoption is that you’ll lose the legal relationship with your biological parent (s). This is because the law recognizes the adoption of an adult and will treat the person adopting you as your legal parent. It’s therefore important to put this factor into consideration before being adopted. After your adoption, you won’t make key decisions on behalf of your biological parents in their old age or even become their power of attorney.
You’ll only have the legal right to care for your adoptive parent. Since the law has terminated your parent-child relationship, you cannot attend to their medical emergencies. After finalizing your adoption, you’ll lose the right to inherit property from your biological parent (s). The only exception is when listed as part of the beneficiaries.
It’s important to notify your biological parents about it and have them list you as part of the beneficiaries in their will since you won’t qualify to inherit their estate automatically. Following your adoption, the law indicates that you’ll enjoy inheritance rights from your adoptive parent (s).
– Can My Stepparent Adopt Me if I’m Over 18?
Yes, your stepparent can adopt you, provided they file an adoption petition and have you sign the consent form. You can also request the court to replace the names of your biological parents with that of your stepparent on your birth certificate. You also have the option of changing your name during the process of adoption. Provided you meet all the requirements, you can have your adult adoption formalized within the shortest time possible.
– How Much Does Adoption Cost in Texas?
There’s no fixed cost for adult adoption in Texas since it varies based on several factors, including:
- Attorney fees
- Fees paid to adoption agencies
- Other professional services
However, private adoption in Texas could averagely cost $60,000 to $65,000.
– How Long Is the Adoption Process in Texas?
It can take six to nine months to finalize an adoption in Texas. However, there’s always a variation in the time spent preparing for, finalizing and adopting. This may also depend on the age and sexuality of the person you want to adopt.
– Do You Have To Be Financially Stable To Adopt?
To adopt someone, an adoptive parent’s household income must be equal to or greater than 125% of the US poverty level based on your household size. Here, household size refers to your:
- Dependents and
- The person you want to adopt
– How Much Do Adoptive Parents Get Paid in Texas?
If you adopt a child with a high or moderate foster care service level, you can get an adoption assistance payment of up to $545 per month. This amount can also change based on how you negotiate with the state during the adoption process.
– Can You Unadopt Adopt a Child?
You cannot reverse an adoption once the court grants the order. Unadopting a child could only happen in very rare situations. It isn’t easy to unadopt a child because they lose legal connection with their biological parents once you adopt them. They even become full members of your family by changing their surname.
Once a person reaches 18 years, you can adopt them without seeking approval from their biological parents, provided they are willing to have a formal parent-child relationship with you. A child’s foster or stepparents may wait until adulthood to adopt them due to their parents’ restrictive or violent nature. We’ve learned that adult adoption in Texas entails an older adult adopting a younger adult, and in summary, this article has taught us that:
- You must be a resident of Texas to meet the requirements for adopting another person.
- You can only adopt a person if they show interest and are ready to participate in the adoption process.
- The first step to adopting an adult entails completing the required forms, including the Order of Adoption, Adoption Agreement, Consent of Spouse of Adopting Parent, etc.
- An older adult may want to adopt a younger one for property inheritance, formalizing a parent-child relationship, or providing perpetual care.
- When you formally adopt someone, they’ll have a similar “child” status as your naturally-born children.
If you are planning to adopt someone and want to avoid the pitfalls that come with adoption, you should consider seeking the help of a family law adoption attorney.
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