State Laws and Legislation

Texas Adoption Law

Permits single LGBT individuals to petition to adopt? Yes.
Texas law permits an adult to petition to adopt. (TX FAMILY CODE ANN. § 162.001)

Permits a same-sex couple to jointly petition to adopt? No explicit prohibition.
Lower courts have allowed such adoptions,  (Goodson v. Castellanos, 214 S.W.3d 741 (Tex. App. 2007)). In 2001, a same-sex couple jointly petitioned to adopt a child from Kazakhstan.  A county district court granted the adoption. Over a year later, the couple’s relationship ended.  At that point one of the partners filed a suit affecting the parent-child relationship of the partners.  A district court subsequently issued a judgment affecting the parent-child relationship the partners had with the child.  On the same day, the district court issued an opinion that two individuals of the same sex could not jointly petition to adopt a child. The adversely affected partner appealed the judgment that altered her parental rights. On appeal, the partner argued that the district court that granted the joint adoption had no jurisdiction to grant an adoption to a same-sex couple. The Texas Court of Appeals, however, held that the district court had the power to grant the adoption, and that the validity of the decree could only be attacked within six months of its issuance. Because the partner was attacking the validity of the adoption after six months had elapsed, the Court of Appeals ruled that the partner was barred from attacking the validity of the joint adoption. Because she could not attack the validity of the joint adoption, the issue of whether a same-sex couple could jointly adopt a child was not before the Court of Appeals. Consequently, the Court of Appeals did not engage in statutory construction regarding same-sex adoptions, though it did note that granting the same-sex adoption was not “fundamental error.”
(Goodson v. Castellanos, 214 S.W.3d 741 (Tex. App. 2007))

Permits a same-sex partner to petition to adopt partner’s child or child of the relationship? No explicit prohibition.
In 2001, a county court granted a step-parent adoption to a same-sex couple. Later, the stepparent filed a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.  The biological parent argued that the stepparent adoption was void because the statute did not permit same-sex stepparent adoptions. However, a Court of Appeals held that the 6 month statute of limitations for challenging the adoption had run out. Accordingly, the biological parent was unable to challenge the adoption and the substantive issue of whether the statute permitted same-sex stepparent adoptions was not decided. (Hobbs v. Van Stavern, NO. 01–05–00632–CV, 2006 WL 3095439, (Tex. App. November 02, 2006)(not officially released for publication)).

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Updated: Mon, December 14, 2009 - 12:00:32