Termination of Parental Rights

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).

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.

Child’s best interests

Most states consider a child’s best interests in termination proceedings. In some states, statutes use general language mandating that the child’s health and safety be paramount in all proceedings, while other states’ legislation lists specific factors that must be considered, such as 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
  • Abandonment
  • 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

A parent can also lose their parental rights after being convicted of certain felonies. Additionally, if a parent commits a crime of violence against another family member, the court has the option to remove their rights and terminate the child-parent relationship. Also, if a parent is required to be imprisoned for a length of time that requires the child to enter foster care because there are no alternatives, the parent can lose parental rights.

Voluntary termination of parental rights

Typically, parents voluntarily terminate their rights when they wish to give the child up for adoption.