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Instructions & Forms for an Adult Adoption in Texas (Set A)

These instructions explain the steps to adopt an adult in Texas.  Each step includes a link to the form or forms needed for that step.  Click on the step to expand it with more information.

Have you read the Frequently Asked Questions? These instructions are part of this TexasLawHelp.org toolkit: I want to adopt an adult in Texas. It’s important to read the Frequently Asked Questions included with the toolkit before getting started.

WARNING! These instructions provide general information, not legal advice. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

You can print these instructions to use as a checklist.

To print both the instructions and forms, click here if the person will keep their name. If the person will change their name, click here.

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Step 1: Fill out your court forms.
  • Fill out the following starting forms:
    • An Original Petition for Adoption of an Adult form.
      • Use this form if you are asking the court for an adoption of an adult and the adult you are adopting (the “adult adoptee”) is keeping his or her name: Original Petition for Adoption of an Adult (Set A)
         
      • Fill out the Petition according to the following instructions:
        • This form (called the Petition) asks the judge to order the adoption.
        • Print your answers using blue or black ink. Do not leave blanks. 
           
        • Who is the petitioner? You are the petitioner—the person asking the court to sign the decree of adoption. You must fill out and sign the Petition. If you are married, your spouse must also sign the Petition.
          • Note: Even though the spouse of a petitioner in an adoption case must also join in the adoption case as a petitioner, the spouse may ask the court not to grant the adoption to both spouses, and only to one. Talk with a lawyer if this is an issue in your case.
             
        • Who is the adult adoptee? The adult you are asking to adopt is the adult adoptee.
          • Important: If the adult adoptee’s current legal name (before the adoption) is different than the name that appears on the adult’s adoptee’s birth certificate, the Petition and Decree of Adoption need to include both the adult adoptee’s current legal name and the name that appears on the adult adoptee’s birth certificate. 

            • When you fill out the adult adoptee’s name in the Petition and Decree, write the adult adoptee’s current legal name first, then write “a.k.a.” followed by the name that appears on the adult adoptee’s birth certificate.
              • For example, if the adult adoptee’s current legal name is Jane Doe, and the adult adoptee’s name that appears on her birth certificate is Jane Roe, fill in the adult adoptee’s name as follows: Jane Doe a.k.a. Jane Roe.
                 
  • Fill out this starting form completely in blue or black ink.
  • Fill out this additional starting form if you cannot afford to pay the filing fee for your case. Call the district clerk’s office in the county where you live to learn the filing fee for your adoption case.
  • Fill out the following ending forms:
Step 2: Have your forms reviewed (if possible).

Although not required, it’s a good idea to have a family law lawyer review your completed forms. Family law lawyers specialize in cases involving families, such as adoptions.

You can hire a lawyer just to review your forms. Hiring a lawyer for a limited purpose is called limited scope representation.”  You can then finish your case yourself.  Use our Legal Help Finder to search for a lawyer referral organization in your county.

If you have a low income, you may be able to have your forms reviewed for free at a legal clinic. Use our Legal Clinic Calendar to search for free legal clinics in your area. 

Step 3: Make copies of your starting forms.

Make two copies of your completed Original Petition for Adoption.

Make two copies of your completed Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Courts (only if you are asking the court to waive court costs).

You do not need copies of the Civil Case Information Sheet.

Step 4: File your Petition and other starting forms with the clerk.

File (turn in) your completed Petition and other starting forms with the district court clerk in the county where you live.

●    To file your forms online, go to E-File Texas and follow the instructions.

●    To file your forms in person, take your Petition and additional starting forms (and copies) to the district clerk’s office in the county where you live.

At the clerk’s office:

○    Turn in your Petition and other starting forms (and copies).

○    Pay the filing fee (or file your completed Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs if you cannot afford the fee).

○    Ask the clerk if there is a local standing order that you need to follow or attach to your Petition.

○    Ask the clerk if there are local rules or procedures you need to know about for your case.

○    The clerk will write your “Cause Number” and “Court Number” at the top of the first page of your Petition.  (Write these numbers at the top of any document you file in your case.)

○    The clerk will file-stamp your copies with the date and time. The clerk will keep the original and return your copies.

Step 5: Give the adult adoptee a file-stamped copy of your Petition. Ask the adult adoptee to sign court forms.

Give the adult adoptee:

a file-stamped copy of your Original Petition for Adoption of an Adult, and

a blank Consent of Adult Subject to Adoption (Set A), and

a completed Decree of Adoption of an Adult form.

Ask the adult adoptee to complete these steps:

  • (1) FILL OUT and SIGN the Consent of Adult Subject to Adoption form.
  • Tell the adult adoptee to sign the consent at least one day after you filed the Petition. Otherwise the adult adoptee will have to redo it.
  • (2)  SIGN the completed Decree of Adoption of an Adult form.
  • The Decree of Adoption of an Adult form must be completely filled out when the adult adoptee signs it. You CANNOT make changes to the decree form after it has been signed by the adult adoptee, unless the adult adoptee initials each change.
  • (3) RETURN the signed forms to you.

You (and your spouse, if applicable) should also: sign the Decree of Adoption of an Adult form, and make a copy of the Consent of Adult Subject to Adoption form that was filled out and signed by the adult adoptee.

Step 6: File the Consent of Adult Subject to Adoption form with the clerk.

File (turn-in) the completed and signed Consent of Adult Subject to Adoption form into your open case number with the district court clerk in the county where you live. 

At the clerk’s office:

Step 7: Go to court with your spouse (if applicable) and the adult adoptee to finish your case.

If you have turned in the signed Consent of Adult Subject to Adoption form and you, (your spouse, if applicable), and the adult adoptee have signed your completed Decree of Adoption of an Adult form, you can all go to court to finish your adoption.

●    Call the clerk’s office to learn when and where the court hears uncontested adoption cases.

  • Some courts will schedule your adoption hearing for a specific date and time. Other courts do not require scheduled hearings, and instead allow you to come to court at a time that the judge hears cases on a first-come first-served basis on the “uncontested docket.” 

●    Read the article Tips for the Courtroom for more information about going to Court.

●    Bring these papers with you to the courthouse on the day you plan to finish your adoption.

  • A file-stamped copy of your Original Petition for Adoption of an Adult, - and -
  • A file-stamped copy of the Consent of Adult Subject to Adoption form signed by the adult adoptee. - and -
  • A completed Decree of Adoption of an Adult signed by you (your spouse, if applicable) and the adult adoptee. - and -
  • A completed Certificate of Adoption.

●    When you get to the courthouse, go to the clerk’s office.

      ○    Ask the clerk if you need the court file or docket sheet (list of what has been filed in your case).

●    When you get to the courtroom, tell the clerk you are there. Sit down until the judge calls your case.

●    When the judge calls your case, you, (your spouse, if applicable) and the adult adoptee should walk to the front of the courtroom and stand in front of the judge’s bench. The judge will have each of you raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth. Be prepared to quickly tell the judge: who you are, how you are related to the adult adoptee, and that you are asking the judge for an adoption of the adult. It’s a good idea to write down everything you want to say so you can read it to the judge if you get nervous.

●    The judge will listen to what you say and review your papers. If everything is in order the judge will sign your Decree of Adoption of an Adult.

Step 8: File the signed order with the clerk.

After the judge signs your Decree of Adoption of an Adult, go back to the clerk’s office.

  • File (turn in) the signed Decree of Adoption of an Adult signed by the judge. Your case is NOT final until you do so.
    • Give the court clerk the Certificate of Adoption and ask the court clerk to fill out, sign and seal section 4.
    • Make sure the clerk fills out section 4 completely and stamps it with their official seal.
       
    • Get at least six certified copies of your Decree of Adoption of an Adult from the clerk while you are there. (The clerk may charge a fee for the certified copies.) 
      • Three copies are for you. The other three copies are for the adult adoptee.
        • Order more than six if you think you might need more.
          • Important: You will not be able to get certified copies of the Decree of Adoption of an Adult without going to court and asking a judge to formally unseal the adoption file. Order as many certified copies at this stage, because you and the adult adoptee would have to go back to court to ask a judge to unseal the adoption file in the future.
             
    • Ask for the original Certificate of Adoption, and get two copies of the Certificate of Adoption from the clerk while you are there. The clerk may charge a fee for the copies.
      • You will use the original Certificate of Adoption to order a new birth certificate of the adult adoptee.
Step 9: After your case is finished.

Follow these steps after your case is finished.

Congratulations! You have finalized your adoption.

Last updated 9-11-2019