If you are an LGBTQ+ person hoping to adopt in Texas, Covington Law Firm, PLLC, is here to help. It is important to consult with an attorney before taking your first steps toward adoption. Attorney Vonda Covington has extensive experience helping clients navigate the adoption process, which can be complex. She is invested in helping adoptive parents succeed in their dreams of starting or growing their family through adoption.
Under Texas laws, LGBTQ individuals and married couples can submit a petition to adopt. Every year, birth parents choose, and often prefer, same-sex couples. Families willing and able to provide a safe and loving adoptive home can pursue adoption. Ms. Covington can help you navigate the required home study process and the adoption application process.
Does Texas Allow Unmarried LGBTQ+ Individuals to Adopt?
Yes, Texas allows unmarried individuals and couples to adopt children. There are many reasons same-sex couples may remain in long-term relationships without legally getting married, including personal or financial reasons. Birth parents considering adoption can ask potential adoptive parents about their living situation and plans for the future. All potential adopters must meet the following requirements to submit a petition for adoption:
- At least 21 years old
- AU.S. citizen, permanent resident, or other qualified alien
- Financially able to meet the child’s basic material needs
- Physically, mentally, and emotionally able to assume parenting responsibilities
Does the State of Texas Have Specific Anti-Discrimination Laws for LGBTQ+ Couples?
Texas has no specific laws that protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination. Perhaps in the future, specific laws protecting LGBTQ+ adoptive parents will be enacted. Attorney Vonda Covington always supports adoptive parents and parents looking to pursue adoption for their child and has helped clients from a wide range of backgrounds throughout the adoption process.
How Do I Place My Baby Up for Adoption to an LGBTQ+ Individual or Couple?
Many gay and lesbian couples are thrilled at the opportunity to raise a child in a loving home. The decision to choose adoption can be difficult and complex. If you are considering choosing adoption for your baby, it is important that you understand your legal rights and what the adoption process will look like. Working with a skilled attorney can help you make informed decisions at every point in the process. As the birth parent, you can choose which potential adoptive family you would like to adopt your baby.
Generally, birth parents choose an agency that helps them select an adoptive family. In addition to working with an agency, it is wise for birth parents to hire their own attorney who can provide them with legal advice. As a birth parent, the potential adoptive parents may agree to pay for your legal fees as part of the adoption agreement. Your attorney will advise you on your rights and help you avoid potential red flags. It is always important to have a person advocating for your unique interests as a birth parent in what can be an emotionally and physically straining process.
What are the Requirements for Same-Sex Adoption?
The requirements for an LGBTQ+ individual or couple who would like to adopt are the same as for other couples. There are two main categories of requirements for adoption. The first is the home study process, and the second involves the governmental requirements for adoption. Specific agencies may have their own requirements for adoptive parents.
The home study is an in-depth process that helps adoptive families become ready to adopt a child or children. The state of Texas will conduct a background check. You will need to complete a significant amount of paperwork and participate in an in-depth interview in which a caseworker will assess your ability to adopt a child.
You will also need to undergo a background check and complete educational classes about adoption. A district judge will review the results of your home study, but they will otherwise be confidential. Parents cannot adopt until they have passed their home study and met all of the other legal requirements to adopt in Texas.
What is a Venue Change?
Venue refers to the location your court case will be heard. When all parties agree, the venue can be waived, and the case can be heard in any county. Changing the venue can be important in same-sex adoption cases. Instead of facing a hostile court, potential adoptive parents can choose to have their adoption heard in a county with a less hostile judge.
What is the Best Interests Standards?
Anytime children are involved in adoption or child custody issues, Texas courts consider the best interest of the child. There is no explicit provision barring discrimination against prospective LGBTQ+ parents, as mentioned above. However, Texas courts have held that a judge cannot deny custody to punish a parent, including for the parent’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
Courts do allow the admission of testimony concerning the parent’s sexuality in court actions to terminate parental custody. A judge could potentially deny an adoption petition because the parents are in a same-sex relationship. This type of decision is unlikely to be explicit, but the “best interests” standard is subjective. Working with an experienced attorney can help protect your rights as a potential adoptive parent who is also LGBTQ+.
Can I Adopt My Partner’s Child?
Second-parent adoption is adopting a child by an additional parent when the child only has a single legal parent. The second parent can be recognized as such without the first parent losing parental rights. No law prohibits second-parent adoption in Texas.
In two Texas appellate cases, the court has left second-parent adoptions for LGBTQ parents intact, even after the parents separated. If you are interested in second-parent adoption or stepparent adoption, which is the legal adoption of a child by the spouse of the child’s legal parent, speaking to an attorney as soon as possible is crucial.
Talk to an Experienced LGBTQ+ Adoption Attorney in Texas
Attorney Vonda Covington of Covington Law Firm, PLLC, understands the unique complexities of LGBTQ+ adoption. Whether you are a hopeful adoptive parent or a birth parent considering adoption, we can provide you with skilled, experienced legal counsel. Contact Covington Law Firm, PLLC, to schedule an initial consultation and learn more. We respond to inquiries within 24 hours.