Terminating Parental Rights in Texas

Terminating Parental Rights in Texas

The sensitive and intricate process of terminating parental rights in Texas requires a thorough understanding of legal guidelines and the implications for all parties involved. This article provides a clear and concise exploration of the legal criteria, procedures, and potential consequences of this significant legal action, aiming to offer valuable insights for those facing this challenging situation.

Navigating the Heartfelt Decision: Termination of Parental Rights in Texas

Addressing concerns about a child’s safety is paramount. If your child is at risk due to your spouse’s or partner’s actions, severing their legal ties might be essential. This blog post delves into the complexities of terminating a parent’s rights.

Terminating parental rights involves a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). This legal process aims to dissolve the bond between a child and a parent through court intervention. It’s crucial to understand that this severance can’t occur without a court order. Voluntary agreements signed outside court hold no legal standing.

Voluntary Relinquishment and Waiver of Interest

Two affidavits can facilitate a parent’s voluntary renouncement. The first, an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment, allows a parent to agree to the termination of their rights. The second, an affidavit of waiver of interest, lets a parent forfeit any claim over the child, born or unborn. However, these affidavits become legally binding only with a judge’s approval.

The following sections will explore the legal intricacies and scenarios pertaining to such cases.

What to Do if You Are Concerned About the Safety of Yourself or Your Child?

If you or your child have been the victim of a physical assault by your spouse or your partner you should take action immediately to protect yourself and your child. Contacting the police in the event of an emergency is proper as is filing a police report against the violent parent. You should not assume that nothing can be done until your termination case is filed with the court. Your safety is important and you need to be proactive on your behalf and your child’s while your case is getting filed.

Who Is Able to File a Termination of Parental Rights Case?

Either you or your child’s other parent may file a termination of parental rights case in Texas. On the other hand, if you are not a parent to the child who is the subject of the termination lawsuit then you can still file a termination case if you are a person who has court ordered visitation or access with the child, such as a grandparent. You may also file a parental rights termination case if you are a man who does not have parental rights currently, as to that child, but is alleging that you are the biological father.

The next most common scenario in which a parental rights termination case is filed by someone other than a parent is when the petitioner has had actual care, control and possession of the child for at least six months ending not more than 90 days before the date that the termination case is filed with the court.

If you are a grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew of a child you may also file a petition to terminate one of (or both of) that child’s parent’s rights if both parents are dead or both parents agree to the termination. If neither of those circumstances applies to you and your family you may still bring the termination lawsuit in the event that the child’s present circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development.

When Can a Termination of Parental Rights Case Be Filed?

Generally speaking, once a child is born a termination case may be filed. The reason that a person is asking a judge to terminate your or your child’s other parent’s parental rights will have an impact on the timeline of when to file the case.

First of all, a termination case based on the other parent’s failure to support a child for a year should be filed no later than six months after the parent begins to support the child if that parent ever does begin to support the child.

In the event that you are a child’s mother and have incorrectly designated the legal father of a child, that man must file a termination of parental rights case no later than two years after he finds out that he is not the biological father of the child.

Finally, a foster parent who has had possession of the child for at least 12 months must file a termination of parental rights case no later than 90 days after their period of possession ends.

Starting a Parental Rights Termination Case in Texas