Adoption Annulment in Texas Courts

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Child holding a teddy bear is watching a woman and her little boy walk away.
There are specific circumstances under which you can reverse an adoption. You must consult with an experienced attorney. Photo by Seika Chujo.

An adopted child is the one you chose versus being conceived. A child can complete your family and fill your heart. Adoption is a wonderful and selfless act. There are many reasons why an individual or a couple may choose to adopt, sometimes after years of having difficulty conceiving. Unfortunately, there are also times when things just don’t work out and you need to explore an adoption annulment. 

Reversing a lengthy and complicated process like adoption can be painful and stressful. Knowing the details of the process will help you move on quicker. 

Only the birth parents, adoptive parents, or the child can initiate the reversal of an adoption.

Steps For Adoption Reversal 

No one wants to tear apart a family but not every adoption can be a success. Here is the process of getting an adoption reversal.

Make the decision to reverse an adoption

This may be the toughest decision ever made for a family. Don’t rush into the situation but equally, don’t drag out a bad adoption if the family is suffering unnecessarily.

Confirm your standing to request an adoption annulment

The parties who can petition the court include the birth parents, adoptive parents, and the adopted child.

File a petition with the appropriate jurisdiction and venue

In most cases, the family law court where the adoption occurred is the appropriate venue. The petition process is the beginning of a legal request that the judge will consider. Make sure your attorney has experience with filing a petition with this court to reverse an adoption.

The court will consider the petition

A court must be convinced to annul or reverse the adoption.

The court reviews the petition’s details

The person filing the adoption annulment petition impacts the information the court may require. Consult with a qualified family law attorney to help you navigate these requirements.

The court will publish their determination

The amount of time the court will take to reach a final decision is impacted by many factors but the biggest is the docket of cases the court is working through. Your attorney will be able to give you an average time and will notify you when a decision has been released.

Getting The Request Approved

If the court grants the request to reverse the adoption, the information on the child’s birth certificate will usually be put back into its original place stating the biological parents of the child. The adopted children can claim their original birth certificate from the state.

Each facet of this process can be wrought with complications and stretch over months or years. Keep reading for the details.

A Child Can Reverse An Adoption

In Texas, it is within an adoptee’s rights to have his or her adoption vacated. There are a variety of reasons why a child may wish to have their adoption reversed: 

  1. Some minors may wish to emancipated from their adoptive parents so that they may be treated as adults under Texas state law. 
  2. In other situations, the child has a strained relationship with the new adoptive parents. In this case, the adopted child may find a new family placement that is more suitable for him or her and want to terminate the old adoptive relationship. The old adoption would also lose legal power.
  3. When an adoptee becomes an adult, they may wish to legally separate from their adoptive parents later in life. This usually occurs due to poor relationships between the two parties.

An Adoptive Parent Can Annul A Texas Adoption

Before adopting a child, many Texas parents experience difficulty conceiving. Even after deciding on adoption, would-be parents agonize over how long it takes to have the child in their arms. After all that effort, some people decide that parenthood isn’t for them. They make the difficult decision to annul the adoption and return the child to their birth parents or the adoption agency.

Inability To Provide Proper Care

Incarceration, drug rehab, or mental health hospitalization are some of the more common reasons adoptive parents might want to seek to annul a Texas adoption. Sadly, these situations keep a parent from being able to care for their kids responsibly and it is not in the child’s best interests.

Financial Hardship  

Financial hardship is another reason for a person to request adoption reversal. Parents may no longer have the ability to afford to keep a child due to the lack of money. If both adoptive parents lose their jobs, it can change the entire outlook for some couples. When they run out of options, some will return the adoptee to the foster care system and go through an adoption reversal.

Indeed, when children are unable to eat or receive proper medical care, it is time for the parents to seriously consider an adoption annulment. The guardians must file a petition with a Texas court. They would also have to show why it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in their care.

A Biological Parent Can Reverse A Texas Adoption

This is very rare and extremely difficult, but there are times when a birth parent could reverse an adoption. This is because, under Texas Law, a relinquishment document of their parental rights is considered irrevocable once signed by a birth parent.   

In fact, there is only one way a biological father or mother could reclaim parental rights over an adopted child and get an adoption annulment. They must prove to a court that they made their decision to sign away their custody under duress. Only in this scenario will the court relinquish parental rights back to the birth parents. In almost every case, courts will automatically deny custody to a biological parent when their parental rights have already been terminated.

Disrupting An Adoption

There’s only a limited window of time for birth parents who change their mind about having their child get adopted by their adoptive parents. Birth parents must give legal consent for adoption and relinquish their parental rights to the adoptive parents. Legal consent must be clear before an adoption is final.

Alternatively, a biological father who was not aware of the adoption may want to go through the process of filing a paternity action. This will enable him to claim back his parental rights over the child and have the adoption reversed. This can happen if the mother did not list the real name of the father or used any other way to hide the parentage of the child. This would have made it difficult for state adoption agencies to contact the father to provide legal consent for the adoption.

Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review

Let the award-winning attorneys at Sean Lynch assist you in the preparation of your adoption case while protecting the child’s best interests. We have extensive experience in family law and can guide you through the legal process to get the adoption reversed. Contact us today and share this information with friends and family who may need legal advice for adoption reversal and understanding what happens when the reversal takes place.

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