Parents occasionally face the question of whether parental rights can be terminated. A wide variety of life circumstances lead to such questions, such as child abandonment, child neglect or abuse, rape and failure to pay child support. Texas law has specific answers to the varied challenges families face, and provides a framework that governs the ability to terminate the parent-child relationship between a parent and child. Because removing a parent's right to have a relationship with his/her child is such a dramatic action that has profound consequences, Texas law is very strict on what constitutes sufficient cause to terminate parental rights, and is very strict on the level of proof that must be shown in order to give the Court the power to terminate parental rights. Essentially, a person seeking to terminate parental rights must show clear and convincing evidence of at least one of certain "grounds" for termination that are listed in the Texas Family Code, and that termination is in the best interest of the child. Today's blog will identify some of the most common grounds used to terminate parental rights in Texas.
1. The parent has voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another not the parent and expressed an intent not to return;
2. The parent has voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another not the parent without expressing an intent to return, without providing for the adequate support of the child, and remained away for a period of at least three months;
3. The parent has voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another without providing adequate support of the child and remained away for a period of at least six months;
4. The parent has knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain in conditions or surroundings which endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child;
5. The parent has engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who engaged in conduct which endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child; or
6. The parent has failed to support the child in accordance with the parent's ability during a period of one year ending within six months fo the date of the filing of the petition.
Many other grounds for termination are provided for by law - the above grounds are simply the most common of legal grounds. If you are considering the possiblity of seeking termination of parental rights and believe one of these grounds exist, or need to more fully understand these or other grounds for termination, you should seek legal advice from an experienced Texas family law attorney. The family law attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have handled many termination and adoption cases in Texas over the course of more than 20 years. To arrange an initial case evaluation at no cost, contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio.