Termination of Parental Rights in Texas

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In my practice, I typically get men on a weekly basis who want to terminate their rights.  I get some woman who want to get the father out of the picture and ask make the same inquiry. As a Harris County Child Custody Lawyer,  in most cases, to terminate the parent-child relationship, the court must find by clear and convincing evidence that termination is in the child’s best interest.  Best interest does not require proof any any unique set of factors, and it does not limit proof to any specific factors.  Although proof of acts or omissions supporting a statutory ground for termination does not relieve the petitioner of the burden to prove the child best interest, the same evidence is usually proof of both findings.  The main inquiry, however, should remain on the best interest of the child, not the parent. This is where most parents fail to see that it is presumed that it is in the child’s best interest to have a mother and father.  Just because the parents cannot get along, does not give grounds to terminate.  Or because one parent does not want to pay child support.  At the same time under the best interest analysis, termination of the parent relationship is not justified when the evidence shows merely that a parent;’s failure to provide a more desirable decree of care and support of the child is due solely to misfortune of the lack of intelligence or training, not to indifference of malice.  In terminations cases, the court determine the child best interest by considering:

  1. the desires of the child,
  2. the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future,
  3. Any emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future,
  4. The parenting ability of the individuals seeking custody,
  5. the programs available to help those individuals to promote the best interest of the child,
  6. the plans for the child made by those individuals or the agency seeking custody,
  7. the stability of the home, the acts or omissions of the parent indicating the the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one,
  8. any excuse of the acts of omissions of the parents.

The standard of proof is by clear and convincing evidence.  This is less than beyond a reasonable doubt but more than a preponderance.  If you are seeking to terminate your rights in the Great Harris County Region, it is best to have another ready to adopt the child.  I can say without too much uncertainty, that if you have Child Protective Services involved, it is much easier for the state to terminate rights, than individuals through private attorney.  Although judges would deny this and most lawyers would only whisper it.


Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 13 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.

Michael Busby Jr.

6100 Corporate Dr Ste 190
Houston, Texas 77036
(713) 974-1151


Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

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