Termination of Parental Rights
A court will terminate a parent’s rights to a child only when the Texas Family Code explicitly allows it, and for many reasons. One, Texas makes it difficult for a parent’s rights to be terminated—also, the effects of a termination are hard to undo—and two, there are consequences that the person seeking termination could face, and should be aware of (a terminated parent is no longer obligated to support the child). When you need legal services, especially concerning the termination of parental rights, Davis, Ermis, & Roberts are your personal experts.
What is the Termination of Parental Rights?
Termination of parental rights refers to the legal process of ending the relationship between a parent and their child. This is typically done when a court determines that the parent is unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable environment for the child, or if the parent has engaged in abusive or neglectful behavior. In some cases, termination of parental rights may be voluntary, such as when a birth parent chooses to give up their rights in order to allow for an adoption. In other cases, it may be involuntary and initiated by the state or a third party, such as a guardian ad litem, who seeks to protect the best interests of the child.
Child’s Best Interests
In termination proceedings, the child’s best interests are a top priority in most states. While some states mandate that the child’s health and safety are paramount in all proceedings, others have specific factors listed in their legislation that must be considered. These factors include the physical, mental, emotional, and moral well-being of the child, any cultural and attachment issues, and the child’s reasonable preferences.
In Texas, legislation mirrors that of the latter: factors like the desires of the child, the emotional and physical needs of the child both in the present and future, and the plans for the future of the child lead and take precedent in proceedings.
Involuntary Termination Of Parental Rights
Some reasons for involuntary termination of parental rights include:
- Severe or chronic abuse or neglect
- Sexual abuse
- Abuse or neglect of other children in the household
- Long-term mental illness or deficiency of the parent(s)
- Long-term alcohol or drug-induced incapacity of the parent(s)
- Failure to support or maintain contact with the child
- Involuntary termination of the rights of the parent to another child
If a parent is convicted of certain felonies or commits a crime of violence against a family member, they can lose their parental rights. In cases where a parent’s imprisonment would require a child to enter foster care due to a lack of alternatives, parental rights may also be terminated. The court has the option to terminate the child-parent relationship in these situations.
Voluntary Termination Of Parental Rights
Voluntary termination of parental rights is when a parent gives up all legal and financial responsibilities and rights to their child. The reasons for voluntary termination can vary, but it is often done to allow the child to be adopted by someone else, to relieve a parent of financial responsibility, or to protect the child from abuse or neglect.
Voluntary Termination In Adoption Cases
Termination is necessary during the adoption process, if not already completed. An adoption cannot be completed if one or two people still have parental rights to that child. To learn if you’re eligible to terminate a parent’s rights and to learn about the consequences, call our office to speak with an attorney.
Call Davis, Ermis, & Roberts Today
If you’re dealing with a difficult situation regarding the termination of parental rights, don’t wait to seek out experienced legal representation. The attorneys at Davis, Ermis, & Roberts are here to help you navigate this complex and emotional process. With years of experience handling cases just like yours, our team is committed to fighting for the best possible outcome for you and your family. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and interests every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you in your termination of parental rights case.