Relinquishing one’s rights and duties as a parent in Texas can be easier said than done. One way that a parent can voluntarily relinquish their parental rights is to sign an affidavit of relinquishment of their parental rights.
Affidavit of Relinquishment
What the affidavit must include is:
- information about the children
- a statement asserting that the potential relinquishing parent understands what it is that they are agreeing to and
- who will be the managing conservator of the children
- The affidavit should be signed in front of two witnesses
Rights are Not Terminated Until a Court Agrees
The signing of an affidavit such this does not alone terminate a person’s rights and duties to their children. A court must first determine whether the termination of the parent’s rights and duties is in the children’s best interests.
Most family law judges in Texas treat termination of parental rights as akin to the death penalty in criminal cases- something to be utilized in only extreme circumstances.
The finality of such a decision is the reasoning behind why judges are so reticent to terminate parental rights. There is no going back once their rights have been terminated.
A final order from a court cannot provide for continued contact between the soon to be former conservator and the children at issue before the court as he or she will no longer be the parent of the child(ren).
Raising the children, have a say so over how they are disciplined or where they go to school is no longer an option.
New Birth Certificate can be Issued
The remaining conservator can have a new birth certificate issued where the terminated conservator’s name can be removed thus eliminating any trace of there having been any sort of parental relationship.
An Attempt to Avoid Child Support
Unfortunately, many people look at termination of their parental rights as a means by which they can avoid having to pay child support.
It is the experience of the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan that if a judge gets even a whiff of this sort of motivation behind the petitioning of a court to terminate their parental rights that petition and request will be denied with haste.
It is the public policy of our State to have the two parents of the child be responsible for their care and upbringing.
Eliminating one potential source of care and resources places a higher burden on the remaining parent or conservator and potentially places the State in a position where it will need to fill in the gaps should there be any unforeseen developments which make that a necessity.
When a parent outright refuses to become involved in a child’s life it is not uncommon for the other parent to want to terminate that parent’s parental rights altogether.
While the inquiring parent may see this as making a clean break with the other parent or making legal what the other parent has chosen to do in practice, it may not be in anyone’s best interest to proceed to petition the court to terminate the other parent’s rights and duties to the child.
Legal Requirements for Terminating Parental Rights
The Texas Family Code Chapter 161 outlines the requirements for terminating a parent’s rights to a child either voluntarily (with permission of the other parent) or involuntarily (without permission of the other parent).
This can be an extremely expensive and time consuming process and the Court, as mentioned above, will terminate someone’s parental rights only after extreme circumstances are shown to be in place.
Occasionally a potential client will walk through the doors of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan requesting that a judge terminate the parental rights of their child’s other parent.
This person will tell us that they don’t care if they ever receive a dime of child support and that they prefer, for peace of mind, to have the other parent’s rights to come into contact with the child be eradicated.
What is sometimes not considered by this well-meaning parent is that:
- health insurance is also affected by a decision like this
- not only child support.
- In addition, just because a person’s current situation allows for them to provide for their child financially, does not mean that this will always be the case.
Job loss, involuntary under-employment or worse yet illness for a child or the parent him or herself may lead that person to need the support from the other parent in the future.
Inheritance and the Child
For Texas families, termination of parental rights does not bar the child from inheriting money from the biological parent whose parental rights have been terminated unless the Court’s order says something to the contrary.
While this is true, for a parent whose rights have been terminated, their motivation to leave any money, property other assets to the child in question will be greatly diminished in most cases.
For an involuntary termination request, if a parent’s behavior is placing the child’s physical well being in danger sufficient that the risk to the child outweighs the risk that a single parent will not be able to sufficiently provide for the child then that may be cause for termination of parental rights.
In CPS cases where both parents are dangerous and their continued contact with the child is determined to be sufficient risk then termination of both parents’ parental rights is possible.
These sorts of cases are very rare, thankfully. Last- if there is a step parent or other person waiting in the wings to adopt a child after the termination of one parent’s parental rights then involuntary termination of parental rights may be accomplished.
When considering options like the termination of a parent’s rights to a child, or if you yourself are considering attempting to relinquish your rights to a child, it is critical that you consult with an attorney before beginning that process.
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan not only are effective advocates in the courtroom for clients but are patient and empathetic counselors who can best advise a person on what sort of decision is best for their situation. A consultation with one of our family law attorneys is always free of charge.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Terminating Parental Rights in Texas on the Absent Parent
- Voluntarily Relinquishing Your Parental Rights in Texas
- What rights does a father have in Texas?
- Fathers' Rights: Children Born Out of Wedlock in Texas?
- Mom Versus Dad Who Gets the rights? - Custodial Rights Vs. Non-Custodial Rights in Texas
- Husband Not the Father, what do I do in a Texas Divorce?
- I am not the biological father but I want to be - Paternity by Estoppel?
- Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.