The termination of the parent-child relationship is an extremely serious legal action that the State of Texas never enters into lightly. The courts take the presumptive stance that both parents are fit to parent and does not interfere in this inviolate right unless it has compelling reasons for so doing. If you have concerns about your own parental rights or about the other parent’s suitability for parental rights, you need an experienced Central Texas family law attorney.
No court terminates parental rights without serious precipitating grounds for doing so. The court’s first priority is always the best interest of the children involved. If the court determines that this best interest is served by termination and that it is accompanied by one of several precipitating events, it has the overarching power to permanently terminate parental rights:
A parent who voluntarily abandoned his or her child
A parent who knowingly put his or her child in harm’s way
A parent who failed to support his or her child financially for a period of at least one year
A parent who failed to enroll his or her child in school
A parent who is absent from his or her child’s home without the consent of the other parent
A situation in which there is an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights
There are additional events involving significant substance abuse, imprisonment, termination of another parent-child relationship, and/or the commission of a crime against children that also support a court’s determination to terminate parental rights.
Only a court order can terminate your parental rights in Texas. While there are mechanisms a parent can sign that voluntarily relinquish such rights, they do not – on their own – terminate said rights. Parental rights remain until a court order is signed by a judge. Whether you are concerned about losing your own parental rights or you believe the other parent’s rights are not supportable, you need an experienced Central Texas family law attorney on your side.
Protective orders are often needed to provide a spouse with necessary protections throughout the often-tumultuous divorce process. They can also, however, be used as tools to thwart the other parent’s parent/child relationship. Because protective orders are emergency orders, the process is less stringent. If you need a protective order or if you believe you are being improperly punished by a protective order, consult with a knowledgeable Central Texas family law attorney as soon as possible.