Do you have the ability to reverse the termination of parental rights in Texas?

Do you have the ability to reverse the termination of parental rights in Texas?

Do you have the ability to reverse the termination of parental rights in TexasIn the United States, 1 in 10 children experience the termination of parental rights of one of their parents. When a child’s best interests and welfare are at stake, difficult situations and decisions often arise, including the termination of parental rights. The legal measure of terminating parental rights can be brought on by a primary caretaker of a child whose biological parent or parents have proven to be erratic, negligent, or abusive. Under other circumstances, one parent may provide and care for their child. In contrast, the other parent is not present and unwilling to raise or even acknowledge the child.

Furthermore, a parent may be involved in unlawful behavior, dangerous situations, or suffering from drug or alcohol abuse—however, there are also cases in which a parent may have had their parental rights wrongfully terminated. The following text outlines the basics of parental rights termination, determines to what extent a termination of parental rights extends against a child’s other parent, and if such terminations can ever be rescinded or reversed under Texas law.

What is a “Termination of Parental Rights” in Texas?

In the state of Texas, the termination of parental rights is the legal process by which a parent’s legal relationship with their child is permanently severed. Texas only permits the courts to terminate parental rights. The court may terminate a parent’s rights if it finds clear and convincing evidence that the parent has abandoned the child, failed to provide proper care and support, or has engaged in certain criminal activities. In addition, the court may terminate parental rights if a parent has mistreated or neglected the child or when the continuation of the parental-child relationship proves detrimental to the child and the child’s overall well-being. Sometimes family law practices receive cases of one parent wanting to pursue terminating the rights of the other parent with whom they share a child or children. These cases are usually brought on because one parent is either abusive, neglectful, exhibiting concerning and even dangerous behaviors, or not playing any functional role in the child in question’s life.

Is the termination of parental rights permanent?

In a termination of parental rights proceedings, the legal relationship between the parent and the child is, as stated above, permanently severed. Once the process is complete, the parent no longer has any legal rights or responsibilities for the child, including the right to custody or visitation. The process of terminating a parent’s rights is usually initiated by the state or local government but can also be done willingly by a parent. A parent can execute an affidavit known as “a waiver of interest” if they intend and agree to waive their rights and interests to the child or an unborn child. However, a judge must still review and sign off in order for the termination to be official. Alternatively, a parent can leave the absolute determination to a court by voluntarily relinquishing their parental rights; the process is done by providing their consent and signing an affidavit to that effect (an Affidavit of Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights). In this instance, a judge must officially sign the court order to terminate the parent’s rights. In the event that the rights of the parent are dissolved, the terminated parent will lose all legal rights to that child.

Is there any possibility for reversal of the termination of a parent’s rights in Texas?

Yes, parental rights termination in Texas can be reversed under certain circumstances. A reversal can occur when the court determines that the termination of parental rights was not in the welfare or for the child’s best interests or that the parent’s rights were wrongfully terminated.

The court must determine that the parent has taken steps to address the issues that led to the termination of their rights and that the parent has been rehabilitated and is ready to resume parental duties. The court may also consider the age of the child and their need for a parent’s guidance and care. Additionally, reversing the termination of parental rights is typically not possible if the child has been adopted or is subject to a related placement agreement for adoption. However, for individuals who fall under wrongful termination of parental rights, such as in fraud cases, there may be room for exceptions; thus, it is critical to consult a knowledgeable family law attorney.

In some circumstances, the court may order a new trial if the parent can prove that there was an error in the original proceedings. In situations where the court has terminated a parent’s rights, that parent may be granted a motion for modification or reversal if the issue or events that led to the termination has been addressed.

Attempting reinstatement of parental rights can be complex, lengthy, and demanding. However, in 2021 Texas expanded the law concerning parental rights. A parent who involuntarily had their rights terminated may file a petition to reinstate those rights through the court pursuant to section 161, subsection D of the family code. To pursue reinstatement of parental rights, it is imperative to contact an experienced Texas family law attorney and discuss your particular circumstances.

Attorney Shannon Boudreaux at Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC in Houston, TX offers the extensive experience and supportive guidance clients need to get through their divorce or other family matter as favorably as possible.