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Having a parent’s rights involuntarily terminated in Texas

Posted on in Family Law

Every so often, a client wants to know if there’s a way to involuntarily terminate the parental rights of their child’s other parent.

Terminating someone’s parental rights isn’t an easy proposition — it’s definitely nothing to be done lightly. However, there are times it’s the right thing to consider. Sometimes, a parent goes absent for years without showing any sign of support for the child. Sometimes, someone should just never have been a parent in the first place.

If you believe that having your child’s other parent remain in his or her life is actually harmful to him or her, here’s what you should know about your options.

Section 161.001 of the Texas Family Code outlines the situations where involuntary termination of a parent’s rights is possible. They include:

  • Leaving the child with another nonparent and expressing the intention not to return for that child
  • Leaving the child with another nonparent and not expressing any intention to return nor providing any support for the child for at least three months
  • Leaving the child voluntarily, without providing any support for at least six months
  • Leaving the child in a place or situation that the parent knows endangers the child either physically or emotionally
  • Actually engaged in harmful behavior to the child
  • Abandoning the child entirely, without so much as a means of identification
  • Abandoning the child’s mother during the pregnancy (with full knowledge that she was pregnant) and providing no support either before or after the child’s birth

These are, naturally, just some of the reasons that a mother or father might be in danger of losing their parental rights. Others might include mental instability, conviction of a serious, violent crime, drug addiction and other such problems that the parent cannot overcome.

Obviously, the court considers ending someone’s parental rights to be a serious matter — one that has to be weighed very carefully. If you believe it is in your child’s best interests, however, our office can help you present a compelling case to the judge in family court.

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