Terminating Parental Rights in Texas

There are situations where a parent may want to terminate the parental rights of the other parent that has been absent from their child’s life for years.

Terminating Parental Rights in TexasCourt Termination of Parental Rights

The parent may see this as the best choice to make especially if the other parent has no desire or ability to take any responsibility for the child. However, termination of parental rights is a difficult process because courts view it as a drastic measure.

The Termination Process

To get the other parent’s parental rights terminated you must convince the court that this action will be in the best interest of the child.

You must also demonstrate to the court that the other parent voluntarily left the child alone, or in the possession of another, without providing adequate support of the child, and remained away for a period of at least six months.

An involuntary termination of parental rights requires a hearing in which a judge and jury will decide based on the best interests of the child. There are other requirements that are detailed under section 161.001(2) that also have to be met for a termination of parental rights to happen.

What the court means by the “best interests of the child.”

Since the decisions the court will make in the case will be determined by the best interest of the child, a court may appoint an attorney to represent the child.

It is expected that this attorney will gather all the facts by interviewing all parties and witnesses and also appear at hearings. They can also make recommendations to the judge.  To determine what is in the best interest of the child the court will consider the following factors:

  • The physical and emotional needs of the child in the present and in the future
  • The child’s desire which will be determined after an interview
  • Parental abilities of the parties that are seeking custody
  • Emotional and physical dangers to the child in the present and the future
  • The plans for taking care of child that each party seeking custody presents to the court
  • How stable the home or the proposed home of the child is

Common Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

For parental rights to be terminated, you have to show the judge that there is a good reason for it. However, there are situations where parental rights termination is almost a sure thing. These include:

  • Parental abandonment
  • History of violence
  • Child neglect or abuse
  • Placing a child in an environment that mentally or physically endangers the child

There are additional grounds for parental rights termination but the one’s above are the most common reasons for involuntary parental rights termination.

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

You can only terminate your parental rights when you can prove that you are not the father of the child. There are many cases where a father discovers that he is not the biological parent of a child and chooses not to continue supporting the child.

You need to file the proper forms for parental rights termination within two years after you discovered you are not the child’s parent.