Termination of parental rights in Texas can be difficult to navigate through for all parties involved. The family law attorneys at Woodburn and Watkins are committed to improving the lives of children, and that may require terminating the parental rights of one of the separated or divorced parents.
In some circumstances, one parent is causing, has been causing, or will cause long-term physical or mental issues in children. In other cases, a parent’s behavior can demonstrate that he or she does not consider the well-being of their child. In these circumstances, termination of parental rights may be warranted.
The parent-child relationship may be terminated if the court finds termination that the parent has:
In addition to the proof necessary to establish one or more of the grounds set out above, the person seeking to terminate the parental rights of a parent bears the burden of proving to the judge that this drastic action is really in the best interest of the child. Many times, this is the most difficult part of the case, since many children are devoted to their parents regardless of the parent’s proclivity for inappropriate, abusive, or cruel behavior.
In this day and age, drugs and alcohol are often one of the contributing or exclusive sources of inappropriate behavior. Mental illness can also be a contributing factor. Since there are a number of treatment avenues for addiction, an effective opponent can convince a judge that, with treatment, a recovering addict can return to being an appropriate and loving parent – and therefore, eliminating the parent from the child’s life will not serve the child’s best interest. In this situation, it takes an experienced lawyer with particular skills to produce a convincing argument that the opposing counsel is wrong. Based in Amarillo, Texas, the attorneys at Woodburn and Watkins possess such skills.
There are times when a parent desires to eliminate the possibility that an unknown father, a biological father who has “disappeared,” a biological parent who is presumed dead, or a non-biological husband or former husband married to the mother when the child was born will surface at some point and want custody or access to a child. This is especially true when the termination is being filed as a prerequisite to an adoption (adoption is covered at length in the “Adoption” section of this website).
How to address the termination of any right this person would have to seek custody, visitation, or access to the child – or to prevent a person from appearing during the pendency or after an adoption has taken place – requires strategic planning and sometimes outside-the-box thinking by a seasoned professional. Serving Potter County and the Texas Panhandle, the family lawyers at Woodburn and Watkins have the experience and skills to address these complicated issues.
A judge or a jury has the right to decide whether to terminate a parent’s rights. Whether you are seeking or are seeking to avoid the termination of parental rights, the decision about whether to pursue a jury trial is important. When it is time for a final hearing you will likely have had some experience with the judge a prior final or temporary hearing. If your prior hearing resulted in an unfavorable ruling or you just believe that your message is not being heard by the Judge then you may wish to pursue a jury trial. When hiring your lawyer you should, therefore, choose an attorney who has experience both with judge trials and jury trials. The family lawyers at Woodburn and Watkins have experience both with Judges and Juries and are prepared to present your case to the decision maker that is most receptive to your argument.
It goes without saying that in order for an adoption to take place, the termination of parental rights must occur first. In a step-parent adoption, the rights of only the former parent of the child need to be terminated. If grandparents or other persons are intending to adopt, the parental rights of both parents must be terminated before the adoption can take place. There are many other prerequisites to adoption, and these issues are discussed in the “Adoption” section of this website.
If you wish to pursue or defend against termination of parental rights, the sympathetic lawyers at Woodburn and Watkins would be honored to work with you to secure your best result.