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Can a mother terminate a father’s parental rights?

Terminating someone’s parental rights is a major step to take in the world of family law. The termination of parental rights does not involve temporarily stopping contact between a parent and their child. Rather, terminating the parent-child relationship results in a complete severance of the legal relationship between a child and their parent. Losing your parental rights means no longer having a right to spend time with your child. Likewise, your duty to support the child financially goes away.

This is a major issue in many family law cases. If you understand the complexities of this subject is a huge leap of faith to terminate your parental rights. For that reason, many parents run into issues when it comes to moving toward a parental rights termination case. Being able to successfully terminate the parental rights of your co-parent comes with challenges, as well.

Additionally, some concerns terminating a co-parent’s parental rights is a short-sighted objective. It is questionable whether doing so serves the best interests of your child. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is here to assist you in understanding more about parental rights termination in Texas.

Grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights

In Texas, there are two ways to terminate parental rights. The first is a voluntary termination of parental rights. The second is an involuntary termination. The first refers to when a parent is willing to have their parental rights terminated. An involuntary termination represents the other circumstance where a parent objects to having their parental rights terminated. In situations where a parent objects to having their parental rights terminated grounds for involuntary termination must be included in any petition.

A petition to terminate parental rights is the name of the pleading which must be filed. A court can order termination of parental rights when it finds clear and convincing evidence that you or your co-parent have done certain actions. These actions include abandoning your child and knowingly allowing your child to remain in a situation that endangers their physical health or emotional well-being. Other circumstances include failing to support your child for one year or more as well as conviction of a serious crime such as murder.

Terminating the rights of an alleged father

When paternity is not settled then a child does not have a father under the law. In that type of situation, an alleged father may have his parental rights terminated, as well. To begin with, an alleged father must be served with notice of any paternity action ongoing. If he does not respond by filing a claim of paternity, then this sets the stage for termination of parental rights. Additionally, if his alleged child is over the age of one at the time the petition for termination is filed and he has not registered with the paternity registry then his parental rights may be terminated. This is true if his location is unknown.

When can a parent’s parental rights be reinstated?

The flip side of this circumstance involves the reinstatement of parental rights. To begin with, a parent’s parental rights may only be reinstated if the original termination occurred because the Department of Family and Protective Services filed a petition. At least two years must have passed since the order was issued terminating the person’s parental rights. Additionally, if the child in question is the subject of an adoption lawsuit or has already been adopted then the termination would be upheld.

Are you attempting to reinstate your parental rights? Your petition must contain a summary of your basis for reinstatement. Additionally, you must include a statement on what led to your parental rights being terminated in the first place. Your statement supporting the reinstatement of your parental rights must include evidence of your ability to act as a parent. Specifically, any steps taken to rehabilitate yourself or improve your parenting acumen should be included.

Reinstatement of your parental rights can only be ordered if it is in the best interests of your child. More than two years must have passed since your parental rights were terminated. Next, your child cannot have been adopted or currently be the subject of an adoption lawsuit. Children over the age of 12 must consent to the reinstatement and wish to live with you primarily.

When can you file a petition to terminate parental rights?

Either parent to a child may file a termination of parental rights case before or at any time after your child is born. The specific reason why you are asking a judge to terminate your parental rights affects when the case may be filed. That your ex-husband failed to support your child for at least a year financially speaking. Your petition to terminate his parental rights must be filed no later than six months after the parent begins to support your child once again. In other words, do not wait around when it comes to a termination lawsuit. 

In situations involving mistaken paternity, it is understandable to file a termination of parental rights petition if you become aware that you are not the biological father to a child then you have to act quickly to try and terminate your parental rights. You must file a petition to terminate your parental rights no later than two years after you find out that you are not the child’s genetic father.

Signing a form to relinquish your parental rights- Is it possible?

In short, it is not possible to sign a form to relinquish parental rights in Texas. You can, however, sign an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights if a termination suit has been filed against you. However, for two forever and your parental rights a judge must sign a court order. Failing to register with the paternity registry we’re signing a relinquishment voluntarily does not fulfill these requirements. Additionally, you need to be sure that filing a relinquishment document is truly what you want to do.

Child support and termination of parental rights

In general, the duty to pay child support ends when your parental rights are terminated. However, there are limited circumstances under which child support may be maintained even after termination. This occurs in situations where you have the financial ability to pay child support and your child is in the care of the state of Texas.

A judge does not have to terminate your parental rights even if you have engaged in criminal conduct. For instance, a judge can create orders in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship instead. This type of order relates to possession, visitation, and child support. You may be granted minimal rights to your child. However, your responsibility to pay child support would continue.

Termination of parental rights and adoption in Texas

Before your child can be adopted by another family your parental rights must first be terminated. The same is true for your co-parent. However, if you are a stepparent seeking to adopt a stepchild then your spouse’s parental rights are not terminated. Parental rights termination is also not required when attempting to adopt an adult. Frequently termination suits are filed concurrent with adoption suits in Texas.

The benefits of hiring an attorney in a parental rights termination case

There is certainly no harm in consulting with an experienced family law attorney regarding a parental rights termination case. As we have seen today this is a serious matter that has long-term consequences for your family. Consulting with an attorney means having the advantage of experience in handling difficult situations. A family law attorney has seen situations like this before and knows how to move forward. 

A typical parental rights termination case is complicated. There are a lot of moving pieces involved that you need to be aware of. The consequences of these types of cases are far-reaching. With that said, you have an opportunity with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to attend a free-of-charge consultation. These consultations carry with them no obligation to hire our office. We provide you with information about the issues involved in a parental rights termination case. Whether you hire our office, or not, we want you to have the information you need to make wise decisions. 

Adopting a child after a termination of parental rights case

Let’s suppose that you have just gone through a parental rights termination case. A child’s parents have just had their parental rights terminated. You are now in a position where you would like to adopt that child. What are the next steps in the process? While a child may have many people in their life who provide care that same child may only have one set of parents. What adoption does is ask a court to name you the legal parent of that child? Making this request means asking the court to determine it is in the child’s best interests to have you named as his or her parent.

Is an adoption suit the same as a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship?

Adopting a child is different than a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. In a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child relationship, you may gain custody of a child and be provided with parental rights. You may gain these custody rights even while you are not the parent of this child. For example, grandparents are oftentimes granted conservative shipwrights to allow them to better raise a child. A conservator only has the rights granted to him or her as contained in the court order.

On the flip side, the rights of a parent and child are much greater. A child does not necessarily have the right to inherit property from their conservator. However, under the intestacy laws of Texas child do have the right to inherit property from their parent. This is a major issue for many families. Ensuring inheritance rights is one of many reasons to pursue an adoption in Texas. Dying without a will is a reality for many people. Inheriting property is what occurs when a person dies without a will. However, it is mainly immediate family members who stand Inherent property in this circumstance.

What is the best interests of the child standard?

In Texas family law, the best interests of a child is the standard that all courts make decisions based on. It seeks to incorporate a range of factors both in the present and future on behalf of that child. Your child’s emotional and physical needs are considered. This means that your child’s physical safety matters. However, their emotional development and needs are also considered by a court. Any specific emotional needs of your child should be made known to a family court judge.

Your ability as a parent will also be assessed. A court will not grant an adoption petition filed by you unless you can display an ability to successfully parent that child. This means putting your child’s best interest in front of your own. It also means being able to provide your child with a home environment that is conducive to their development. Having a bedroom for the child, space to raise the child, and a willingness to make changes to your own life are examples of how a parent should behave. You will be viewed against this backdrop.

What future do you have for your child? Some people will tell you that a parent’s goal should not be to raise a good kid. Rather, a parent’s goal should be to raise a good adult. In this way, your future for your child is looked at closely. Where is your child going to attend school? What is your current relationship status? Is that status subject to change? Do you already have a positive family environment ready for your child? This also relates to the stability of your home and that environment.

What goes on during an adoption case? 

As you may have guessed, an adoption case is very complex. Several moving pieces go on simultaneously. All of it is geared towards determining what is in the best interests of the child you seek to adopt. Studies and reports related to your life and that of the child are assessed. Additionally, information is provided to you which seeks to make sure you are aware of the needs of your child.

Expect to be interviewed on multiple occasions during the adoption case. The child you seek to adopt will also be interviewed because of the adoption case. As mentioned earlier, your home will be evaluated 4 suitability. Where you live matters. It is difficult to assess a situation where your home is more conducive for adults to live in than children. You may need to make substantial changes to your living environment to suit a child. A relevant factor here is the age and developmental stage of your child currently.

A judge puts together all the information to make a decision

After the adoption case, a judge has a lot of information to go through. Ultimately he seeks to make decisions that are based on the best interest of your child. Listening to your testimony and any other involved party is a relevant consideration. The contents of any reports and interviews will be reviewed. The judge investigates the viability of your home to house a child. Finally, the judge evaluates your situation based on the Texas family code.

Before filing a petition for adoption, you need to speak with an experienced adoption attorney. There are a range of outcomes in the adoption case itself. Your adoption may be granted. Or the adoption may be denied completely. A type of middle ground is if a judge provides you with conservatorship rights and duties temporarily. This is while your suitability for adoption is considered. 

With so much at stake and with the different factors discussed today there is no doubt you will be judged critically in the adoption case. As a result, having an experienced attorney by your side matters. Attorneys who specialize in family law matters are of value to potential adoptive parents. With that said, you have a tremendous resource available to you in the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan    

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan thank you for joining us today on our blog. We provide interesting and unique content every day of the year here on our website and blog. It is an honor to be able to serve people just like you in the family courts of Texas. When you are considering your representation options in a family law case we ask that you consider our attorneys. We are privileged to serve many of our neighbors here in Texas in a variety of family law matters. This is a responsibility that we take seriously.

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. Interested in learning more about how your family is impacted by the material in this blog post? Contact us today.

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