There are multiple reasons why someone’s parental rights should be terminated. Maybe you wish to adopt a child, or the other individual is unfit to be a parent. Regardless, certain conditions have to be met before someone can be stripped of their parental rights.
Terminating parental rights is not an easy process. Whether you wish to terminate your parental rights or you want to terminate the rights of someone else, you should seek legal representation. An attorney can guide you through the process and ensure the outcome you desire is achieved for your situation.
We understand that terminating parental rights is an emotional decision. That is why The Gonzalez Law Group wants to be with you every step of the way. We will make sure all the necessary steps are taken and the process goes as smoothly as possible.
You probably have many questions about terminating parental rights that The Gonzalez Law Group would be more than happy to answer. Schedule time to speak with us more about your case. Call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form. All consultations are free and confidential.
- Who can File for Termination of Parental Rights in Texas?
- Involuntary vs. Voluntary Termination
- What is the “Best Interest of the Child?”
- Additional Resources
Who Can File for Termination of Parental Rights in Texas?
If you are planning to file a claim terminating parental rights, you may be wondering if you have the right to do so. Under Texas law, either birth parent has the right to file a claim. Individuals who are not birth parents of the child have a right to file as well, but only under certain conditions. These conditions include:
- You have court-ordered visitation or access to the child
- You are a man who alleges to be the child’s father
- You are a foster parent and the child has been in your home for at least 12 months
- You are the child’s prospective adoptive parent
- You are the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece and:
- Both parents have passed
- Both parents, surviving parents, or managing conservator agree to the termination.
- The current circumstances of the child will harm their physical health or emotional development.
- You have care, possession, and control over the child for at least six months and you are not a foster parent
- You are the managing conservator of the child in an affidavit of relinquishment or have been given consent to adopt the child
- You have lived with the child and the child’s parent or guardian for at least six months and the child’s parents or guardian has passed.
Not only can the mentioned individuals file to terminate parental rights, but certain agencies and representatives may as well. Some of these agencies and representatives include the guardian of the child’s estate, a licensed child-placing agency, a governmental entity, and the Department of Family and Protective Services.
Involuntary vs. Voluntary Termination
Termination of parental rights can be done in one of two ways: involuntary and voluntary. The most common way to terminate a parent’s rights is through voluntary relinquishment. As the name implies, this is done when a parent voluntarily gives up their rights to the child.
Before a parent is able to terminate their parental rights voluntarily, the court will want to know why they are doing so. The most common situations where a parent would relinquish their rights include:
- They wish to terminate their financial obligation to the child
- They found they are not the biological parent
- One parent wishes to have the other parent out of the child’s life
The court is cautious in situations where parents want to terminate their rights because of financial obligations or because they do not want the other parent in the child’s life. These situations may be common, but they are typically not sufficient enough for the court to grant termination. Regardless, you should retain legal counsel if you plan to terminate your parental rights voluntarily.
There are situations where a parent’s parental rights will need to be terminated involuntarily. Involuntary termination can occur even if the parent actively opposes the termination. Some of the most common reasons for someone’s parental rights to be involuntary terminated include:
- Voluntarily left the child with no intention to return
- Placed the child in conditions or surroundings that endangered the child
- Engaged in conduct that placed in the child in harm
- Conviction of certain violent or sexual crimes
- Caused the child to be born addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance
Involuntary termination often occurs when social services are involved because the parent is unfit. Usually, the child has been removed from the home and placed in foster care.
What is the “Best Interest of the Child?”
The court will always rule in the child’s best interest in cases involving termination of parental rights. However, there is no legal definition in the Texas Family Code for what is considered the best interest of a child.
Instead, the courts look to Holley v. Adams, a Texas Supreme Court cases involving termination of parental rights, as a guideline for determining the best interest of a child. When deciding what is in a child’s best interest, the court will consider the following factors.
- The child’s wishes
- The stability of the home where the child is to be placed
- The physical and emotional needs of the child now and in the future
- The emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future
- Parental abilities
- Programs available to assist the child and the parent
- Plans for the child by the individual or adoption agency
- Any acts or omissions of the parent that show the existing parent-child relationship is not proper
- Any excuse of the parent’s acts or omissions
Additional Resources for Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship | Texas Family Code – Follow this link to read the complete text of the state statute that governs the termination of parental rights. You can find the complete list of factors that can result in involuntary termination and information about termination when a pregnancy is the result of a crime. The statute can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
Best Interest | State Bar of Texas– Read an article from the State Bar of Texas that discusses the best interest of a child. In the article, you can learn more about the case that established factors for determining a child’s best interest, and other factors that could be used for determining the best interest of older children.
Contact a Houston Termination of Parental Rights Lawyer
Do not try to deal with the Texas court system on your own. There is too much room for error that can be avoided by having a reliable attorney guide you through the process. Every case that comes through the door at The Gonzalez Law Group is treated with diligence, and yours is no exception.
We will listen to your story and advise you on the best course of action for your situation. Schedule a free consultation by calling (832) 530-4070 or by submitting your information in the online contact form. The Gonzalez Law Group proudly represents clients in all communities in Harris County, TX. Some of these communities include Meadowbrook, Manchester, Lawndale, Gulfgate, and many others.