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Tessmer Tips / 29.10.2015

What if the biological father is unknown to the mother? Because adoption involves termination the parental rights of the birth parents, efforts must be made to determine the name and whereabouts of the biological father.  The Department of Family & Protective Services must provide evidence to the court to show what actions were taken in making a diligent effort to locate the biological father.  Section 161.002 of the Texas Family Code states that the rights of an alleged father may be terminated if the child is over one year of age at the time the petition for termination or adoption...

Tessmer Tips / 28.10.2015

Does the birth father of the baby have to be notified of the birth and the mother’s adoption plan?  Yes, the birth father must be notified either personally by service or by publication.  Reasonable efforts MUST be made to locate the father.  In Texas, a father may add his name to the state paternity registry, which is operated by the Texas Vital Statistics Unit.  The purpose of the paternity registry is to "protect the parental rights of fathers who affirmatively assume responsibility for children they may have fathered, and expedite adoptions of children whose biological fathers are unwilling to assume...

Tessmer Tips / 27.10.2015

Texas law restricts the expenses adoptive parents can pay on behalf of biological parents. These restrictions apply even if the birth mother lives in a state that is more permissive in terms of payments of expenses. Adoptive parents can legally pay for medical and legal expenses relating to the adoption. You can pay a social worker or mental health professional to provide adoption counseling. It is also legal for you to pay a fee to a licensed child-placing agency. You cannot directly pay for any living expenses on behalf of the mother.  If you are working with a birth mother who...

Tessmer Tips / 26.10.2015

People adopt for a wide variety of reasons, infertility being among the most common. About half of adoptions in the United States are between related individuals, such as in a "step-parent adoption" where the new spouse of a parent adopts a child from their husband or wife's previous relationship.   When can the adoption process begin?  The mother of a baby may consent no sooner than 48 hours after the child’s birth.  A man may sign an affidavit disclaiming any interest in the child at any time after the first trimester.  But if a man is the biological father and married to...

Tessmer Tips / 25.10.2015

Adoption is defined as "a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and in so doing permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the biological parent or parents." In the State of Texas, adoption is regulated under Family Code Section 162. This week, Tessmer Law Firm will offer tips and advice regarding the adoption process.   Adoptions typically take one of two forms: "Open" or "Closed." In an open adoption, the identities of the biological parents are known to the adopting parents and communication between the adopted child and his/her biological family may be possible. In a closed adoption, all...

Tessmer Tips / 23.10.2015

Another obstacle that can prevent you from filing litigation is known as locus standi, or "Standing." In order to bring a lawsuit before a court you must be able to prove that you are sufficiently affected by the matter at hand, and that you have been harmed or imminently will be harmed. You cannot file suit just because something bad happened to you, or for something that happened to someone else. For example, if you sue your neighbor because the gazebo in his backyard is ugly and offensive to your tastes, that lawsuit would most likely be frivolous. If it blocks...