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Legal changes to Second-Parent Adoption in Texas

Recent changes in Texas law expedite, simplify, and reduce the cost of the second-parent adoption process for some same-sex couples.

Second-parent adoption, which refers to adoption of a child by a same-sex couple, is recommended to ensure legal recognition of the parent-child relationship between the non-biological parent and the child.

As part of the adoption process in Texas, parents are required to undergo a home screening prior to adopting. The purpose of the home screening is to gather information about the applicants in order to determine if the family is fit and ready for the adoption. The home screening generally includes a home visit and evaluation of the parent’s family history, health, financial situation, and home environment.

Until recently, all same-sex couples, whether married or not, had to meet with a home study provider, undergo an evaluation, and await a home study report before completing an adoption. This process could take months. But as of September 1, 2023, these requirements may no longer be necessary for some families. In 2023, the Texas Legislature amended Texas law to give courts discretion to waive the adoption evaluation for uncontested adoptions in certain circumstances in which the adoptive parent is a stepparent of the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 107.153(a-1). This means that some married same-sex couples may not have to undergo a home study evaluation. As a result, adoption may now be far easier and less costly for some same-sex couples.

The changes in Texas law is great news for many same-sex couples who have a child together or hope to have children in the future.

For additional information about the adoption process in Texas, check out frequently asked questions about second-parent adoption or contact me.