Texas courts will typically award joint or shared custody to parents who divorce. Unfortunately, the other parent may not be either willing or able to fulfill their parental obligations or may prove to be an unreliable, untrustworthy, or unsafe caretaker. It may prompt a mother or father to attempt to terminate the other parent’s rights.
Doing so is a difficult process because the courts view this as a drastic “last resort” measure, but it is possible to get the required court order if you can prove that involuntary termination of parental rights is in the best interests of the child.
Common reasons for the involuntary termination of their parental rights
Common grounds for demonstrating their unsuitability as a parent include:
- leaving your young child alone or with an unreliable caregiver;
- failing to exercise access to the child for extended periods for no good reason;
- leaving the child with someone else without not providing adequate support to care for the child;
- acting violently, neglectfully or unsafely, or exposing the child to unsafe or inappropriate situations or individuals; and
- failing to support the child for at least a year.
The courts will also consider other reasons. Also, the parent may also voluntarily terminate parental rights if it is a case of mistaken paternity, — but they must do it within two years of discovering that they are not the parent, and the Court must appoint an attorney to represent the best interests of the child in any termination case.
How to start the process
An experienced, Board-Certified Texas Family Law expert attorney can be a tremendous resource. Tailoring their guidance to fit the situation’s needs, these legal professionals can walk clients through the process.
Those who feel the circumstances are unsafe can ask a judge to issue an emergency temporary restraining order, or a regular temporary restraining order, which lasts until a hearing regarding the TRO and temporary orders could be held. It is also possible to secure a family violence protective order under certain conditions.