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FAQs – Adult Adoption in Texas

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This article answers frequently asked questions about adult adoptions in Texas.  

Who can file an adult adoption case?

Any adult can file an adoption case for another adult if:

  • The adult requesting the adoption resides in Texas, and
  • The adult to be adopted consents to the adoption

Where do I file (turn in) an adult adoption case?

In either of the following courts in the county where the person asking the court for the adoption lives:

  • District court, or
  • Statutory county court with jurisdiction over family law cases

How do I start an adult adoption case?

Start an adult adoption case by filing an Original Petition for Adoption of an Adult.

Does it cost anything to start an adult adoption case?

Yes. When you file for adoption of an adult, you must usually pay a “filing fee.” The fee may vary by county. Contact the district clerk’s office or the statutory county court with jurisdiction over family law cases in the county where you (the petitioner) live to learn the fees.

If you don’t have enough money to pay the fees, you can ask a judge to waive the fees by completing and filing a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs. Read this short article to learn more: Court Fees & Fee Waivers.

Who is the “petitioner” in an adult adoption case?

The person asking the court for the adoption order is the “petitioner.”

If the petitioner is married, then both spouses must join together as petitioners in the adoption case.

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. 

Who is the “respondent” in an adult adoption case?

An adult adoption can be granted in Texas without listing any “respondent” parties.

Because the person to be adopted is an adult, there is no requirement to give notice of the adoption to the adult’s biological parents or to bring in the adult’s biological parents as parties to the case.

Is termination of parental rights required before an adult can be adopted in Texas?

No. Adult adoptions in Texas do not require an order terminating parental rights. 

Does the adult being adopted have to agree to the adoption?

Yes. The adult being adopted must consent to the adoption in a writing filed with the court.

Do I have to go to court?

Yes. Both the petitioner(s) and the adult to be adopted must go to court for the adoption hearing.

Note: If you have a really good reason that either the petitioner(s) or the adult to be adopted cannot attend the hearing, you can ask the court to make an exception that attendance in court for either party to the adoption is not required. This exception is rare and only applies if you have “good cause” and if the judge signs a written order giving permission that either party to the adoption is not required to go to court for the adoption.

What gets decided in an adult adoption case?

An adult adoption:

  • Makes the adopted adult the son or daughter of the adoptive parent(s)
  • Creates the adopted adult’s right to inherit from the adoptive parents
    • The adopted adult no longer inherits from or through the adopted adult’s biological parents.
  • Can change the adopted adult’s name (if requested)

Note: An adult adoption will not impact immigration rights or grant benefits under immigration law.

Will the judge automatically approve (order) the adult adoption?

An adult adoption will not be approved (ordered) if the judge believes:

  • The adoption is being requested to avoid a legal obligation (such as paying a debt)
  • A party to the adoption is not voluntarily agreeing to the adoption (for example, due to a disability or duress)

Where can I read the law about adult adoption?

Read the laws about adult adoption in Texas Family Code chapters 162.501 through 162.507.