Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Adoption Protects the Interests of Non-Biological Parents

For non-biological parents and others who have had a close relationship with a child, adoption has been the most effective way for them to protect their rights when it comes to child custody. This is because a formal adoption procedure establishes them as the lawful parents of the child; in fact, usually once the adoption becomes final, the adoptive parents obtain a new birth certificate that lists them as the parents at the time of their child’s birth. As a result, non-biological parents who formally adopt a child are entitled to the same rights and protections under the law as if they had been the biological parents of the child.

Depending on your family situation, the path to adoption may not be straightforward. Here are several circumstances that can make it more difficult for non-biological parents to adopt a child:

  • Grandparents who seek to adopt after the death of a child’s parents – they can make their case to the court that the child’s best interests are with them, but the court may prefer to grant an adoption to a younger relative like the deceased’s brothers or sisters before considering grandparents.
  • Same-sex couples who would like to adopt a child jointly – more than likely, only one of the partners will be able to adopt a child, as same-sex couple joint adoption is a murky area of the law in most states, including Texas. Because such couples cannot marry in Texas, they cannot technically adopt together, but nothing prevents an individual partner from adopting a child on his or her own and then raising the child with a partner.
  • Adoption where paternity is not acknowledged – adoption requires that the biological parents of a child relinquish their parental rights. If a child’s father does not acknowledge paternity, before an adoption can occur, an attorney has to take steps to formally end the rights of the birthfather so that the adoption can proceed.

Are you a non-biological parent who recently adopted? What advice would you share with others hoping to do the same?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

1 Comment so far

  1. Timothy J. Conlon, Esq. on February 21st, 2012

    You are correct to point out that adoption is not always a clear-cut case and the number of legal steps a non-biological parent may have to take to adopt a child seems daunting at first. Another category of people who commonly seek to adopt are step-parents, and if a biological father has done nothing to prove his paternity, he still must be informed of the potential stepparent adoption and his parental rights must first be terminated.