Adoption and Termination FAQ

The adoption process in Texas is very complex and understandably raises a lot of questions. When you are thinking of adopting, it is important to put a lawyer in your corner who fully understands the termination of parental rights and other laws surrounding the process.

For a consultation regarding your adoption questions, reach out to Landrith & Kulesz, L.L.P., by calling 817-422-5530 or contact us online.

Answers to Your Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights Questions

How soon after a child is born in an adoption matter can the biological parents' rights be terminated?

An affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights must be signed after birth of the child, but not before 48 hours after the birth of the child, by the parent, whether or not a minor, whose parental rights are to be relinquished.

Can the petition for termination be filed before the child's birth?

Yes, a suit for termination may be filed before the birth of the child. If the petition in a suit for termination is filed before the birth of the child, the court may not conduct a hearing in the suit nor render an order other than a temporary order until the child is at least five days old.

Can an affidavit of relinquishment be revoked?

An affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights or affidavit of waiver of interest in a child that fails to state that the relinquishment or waiver is irrevocable for a stated time is:

  • Revocable only if the revocation is made before the 11th day after the date the affidavit is executed
  • Irrevocable on or after the 11th day after the date the affidavit is executed

At any time before an order granting the adoption of the child is rendered, a consent required by Section 162.010 may be revoked by filing a signed revocation.

Who can bring standing to request termination and adoption?

An original suit requesting only an adoption or for termination of the parent-child relationship joined with a petition for adoption may be filed by:

  • A stepparent of the child
  • An adult who, as the result of a placement for adoption, has had actual possession and control of the child at any time during the 30-day period preceding the filing of the petition
  • An adult who has had actual possession and control of the child for not less than two months during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition
  • Another adult whom the court determines to have had substantial past contact with the child sufficient to warrant standing to do so

What are the grounds for termination?

The court may order termination of the parent-child relationship if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence:

That a parent has:

  • Voluntarily left the child(ren) alone or in the possession of another who is not the parent and expressed an intent not to return
  • Voluntarily left the child(ren) alone or in the possession of another who is not the parent without expressing an intent to return, without providing for the adequate support of the child(ren) and remained away for a period of at least three months
  • Voluntarily left the child(ren) alone or in the possession of another without providing adequate support of the child(ren) and remained away for a period of at least six months
  • Knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child(ren) to remain in conditions or surroundings that endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child(ren)
  • Engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child(ren) with persons who engaged in conduct that endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child(ren)
  • Failed to support the child(ren) in accordance with [his/her] ability during a period of one year ending within six months of the date of the filing of this petition
  • Abandoned the child(ren) without identifying the child(ren) or furnishing means of identification, and the child(ren)'s identity cannot be ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence
  • Voluntarily, and with knowledge of the pregnancy, abandoned the child's mother beginning at a time during her pregnancy with the child and continuing through the birth, failed to provide adequate support or medical care for the mother during the period of abandonment before the birth of the child, and remained apart from the child or failed to support the child since the birth
  • Contumaciously refused to submit to a reasonable and lawful order of a court
  • Been the major cause of the failure of the child(ren) to be enrolled in school as required by the Texas Education Code
  • Been the major cause of the child(ren)'s absence from the home without the consent of the parents or guardian for a substantial length of time or without the intent to return
  • Executed an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights as provided for by chapter 161 of the Texas Family Code (this affidavit of relinquishment is attached to this petition)
  • Been convicted or placed on community supervision (including deferred adjudication community supervision) for being criminally responsible for the death or serious injury of a child under the Texas Penal Code
  • Been adjudicated under title 3 of the Texas Family Code for conduct that caused the death or serious injury of a child and that would constitute a violation of the Texas Penal Code
  • Had [his/her] division (1) of section 161.001 of the Texas Family Code or substantially equivalent provisions of the law of another state
  • Constructively abandoned the child(ren) who [has/have] been in the permanent or temporary managing conservatorship of the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or an authorized agency for not less than six months, and the department or agency has made reasonable efforts to return the child(ren) to [him/her], [he/she] has not regularly visited or maintained significant contact with the child(ren), and [he/she] has demonstrated an inability to provide the child(ren) with a safe environment
  • Failed to comply with the provisions of a court order that specifically established the actions necessary for [him/her] to obtain the return of the child(ren), who [has/have] been in the permanent or temporary managing conservatorship of the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services for not less than nine months as a result of the child(ren)'s removal from [him/her] under chapter 262 of the Texas Family Code for abuse or neglect of the child(ren)
  • Used a controlled substance (as defined by chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code) in a manner that endangered the health or safety of the child(ren) and failed to complete a court-ordered substance abuse treatment program
  • Used a controlled substance (as defined by chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code) in a manner that endangered the health and safety of the child(ren) and, after completion of a court-ordered substance abuse treatment program, continued to abuse a controlled substance
  • Knowingly engaged in criminal conduct that has resulted in [his/her] conviction of an offense and confinement or imprisonment and inability to care for the child(ren) for not less than two years from the date this petition is filed
  • Been the cause of the child(ren) being born addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance, other than a controlled substance legally obtained by prescription, as defined by section 261.001 of the Texas Family Code
  • Voluntarily delivered the child to a designated emergency infant care provider under Section 262.302 without expressing an intent to return for the child; and that termination is in the best interest of the child.

Adoption-Specific Questions and Answers

When can the adoption take place?

  1. The court may not grant an adoption until the child has resided with the petitioner for not less than six months.
  2. On request of the petitioner, the court may waive the residence requirement if the waiver is in the best interest of the child.

How long do the biological parents have to contest the adoption?

  1. The validity of an adoption order is not subject to attack after six months after the date the order was signed
  2. The validity of a final adoption order is not subject to attack because a health, social, educational and genetic history was not filed

What is the retainer fee required for a termination and adoption?

A minimum retainer of $3,000 for a stepparent family adoption is required before a suit is filed and $3,000 for a private adoption is required before a suit is filed.

Need More Answers?

Call our lawyers at 817-422-5530 to schedule a consultation where we can guide you through the entire adoption process.