Some of the most complicated child custody cases are those that involve requests to terminate a parent’s parental rights. Texas courts take all allegations of child abuse and neglect seriously, which is why a parent’s parental rights may be terminated if the judge believes that the child’s safety is in danger.
When one parent’s parental rights are terminated in a child custody case, the other parent can be granted sole managing conservatorship rights. A parent may want to terminate the other parent’s parental rights when they believe that that parent poses a threat to the child’s safety.
If you have been accused of endangering your child’s safety or are otherwise at risk of losing your parental rights, contact a skilled attorney right away. Our Lampasas child custody attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard are committed to helping you fight termination of parental rights to ensure that you can play a consistent role in your child’s life.
Can Your Parental Rights Be Terminated in Texas?
Termination of parental rights can be either voluntary or involuntary. In order to terminate your parental rights against your will, the other parent of your child will have to file a lawsuit and prove one of the grounds outlined in Texas Family Code § 161.001.
Note: Even if a parent voluntarily agrees to terminate their parental rights, it must be proven that terminating that parent’s rights would be in the best interests of the child. It is not uncommon for Texas courts to refuse to terminate parental rights when taking away the parent’s rights would not be in the child’s best interests.
When reviewing requests for voluntary and involuntary termination of parental rights, Texas courts are hesitant about taking away parental rights unless doing so is absolutely necessary to protect the child’s safety and wellbeing.
The fact that courts are cautious about terminating parents’ parental rights makes it easier to fight the other parent’s attempts to terminate rights. However, it is still advisable to be represented by a skilled attorney to protect your rights and help you convince the judge that terminating your parental rights would not be in the best interests of your children.
3 Situations in Which a Texas Court May Terminate Your Parental Rights
The most common reasons a Texas court may terminate a parent’s parental rights include:
The risk of the parent having a continued relationship with the child outweighs the risk that the child may not get adequate support from the other parent.
A parent abuses their child physically, emotionally, or mentally. A court is more likely to terminate a parent’s parental rights when allegations of child abuse were verified by a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation.
A parent is absent from the child’s life or neglected him/her.
If you are at risk of losing your parental rights in your child custody case in Texas, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your options to ensure that you can fight termination of parental rights effectively.
Who Can Request Termination of Parental Rights?
In most cases, a request to terminate a parent’s parental rights is filed by the child’s other parent. However, Texas family courts also allow the following parties to initiate termination of parental rights:
A man who claims to be the child’s biological father;
The child’s foster parent;
A person who has visitation rights to the child;
The child’s potential adoptive parent;
Another relative such as a grandparent who has lived with the child for at least six months;
The child’s guardian if the other parent of the child died;
A child-placing agency; and
The Department of Family and Protective Services after a CPS investigation.
Texas courts take requests for termination of parental rights seriously no matter who initiates the lawsuit. It is up to the judge to decide whether or not to terminate parental rights.
What to Do if Someone Files a Termination of Parental Rights Case?
If the child’s other parent or another party filed a lawsuit asking the court to terminate your parental rights, it is vital to take action as soon as possible. You have no time to waste when there is a risk of losing your parental rights.
Take the following steps if someone filed a termination of parental rights case against you:
Read the papers. The papers will include a petition to terminate your parental rights and a notice of the court hearing. The petition will include the petitioner’s arguments supporting their request to terminate your parental rights. The notice will specify the date when a court hearing is scheduled to take place.
File your answer. After receiving a petition asking to terminate your parental rights, you will have an opportunity to respond to the petitioner’s allegations. When filing your answer, you can specify what statements in the petition you agree and disagree with.
Contact an attorney. It is advisable to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as you find out about an ongoing legal case to terminate your parental rights. Your attorney will help you prepare and file an answer and ensure that you fight the termination of parental rights.
It is essential to work with an attorney when facing the risk of losing your parental rights. Contact our attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to discuss how you can protect your parental rights and fight back against the other parent’s attempts to take away your rights.
Contact a Lampasas Child Custody Attorney
If you are facing a lawsuit to terminate your parental rights, it is important to fight back immediately. A knowledgeable attorney will protect your rights and help you prevail in your case.
Schedule a free case review with our Lampasas child custody attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to talk about your options. Call (254) 220-4225.