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Termination of rights

Terminating parental rights in Texas requires filing a lawsuit and proving the requirements set out in the Texas Family Code (chapter 161). If you are pursuing an involuntary termination parental rights, you will have to work very hard to prove one or more reasons set out in the Texas Family Code and that terminating the parental rights is in the best interests of the child. If the other parent has voluntarily agreed to terminate his or her own rights then you still have to prove it is in the best interest of your child. This is usually an expensive case and there is no guarantee that the court will agree to terminate the other parent's rights. You may spend thousands of dollars and then still get a "No" when you go before the Judge.

The courts are hesitant to terminate a parent's rights because it means the child will only have one parent providing support. They worry that the state will end up supporting the child and remaining parent due to the lack of funds. When terminating rights, keep in mind that this also terminates child support obligations. 

Judges will usually only grant a termination of rights in three situations. 

  • The termination is involuntary. The risk to the child of a continued legal relationship between the parent and child is so dangerous that the risk of a continued relationship outweighs the risk that the child will not be adequately supported by a single parent. 
  • The other parent is absent  and there is a need for the state to manage the affairs of the child. (This is rare and typically only happens in CPS cases where both parents are a danger to the child.) 
  • The termination of parental rights makes way for an adoption where a second parent will be able to provide support for the child. 

Don't forget, terminating a parent's rights terminates all child support. This is not only lost financial support for your child,  but also health care expenses. If the parent ordered to pay child support is not paying child support, then you should speak to an attorney about enforcing the child support order.