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Decatur Termination of Parental Rights Attorneys

Lawyers in Weatherford, Parker County and Wise County Facilitating Adoption Proceedings

Adopting a child is an incredibly rewarding experience for many families, allowing them to offer love and safety to children who are looking for permanent homes and long-lasting family bonds. However, the process of adoption can be complex. One or both parents must legally surrender their parental rights before an adoption can go forward. Many factors come into play in this decision-making process, but with patience and persistence, families can find deep emotional fulfillment as they establish relationships with adoptive children.

Here at J.A. Griffin Law Firm, P.C., we are sensitive to the complex and emotional nature of adoption cases. We understand that terminating parental rights can be a difficult for a parent to take, and we strive to ensure that the decisions made during an adoption case will always be in the best interest of the adopted child or children. If you are considering adoption in Texas, we encourage you to reach out now and allow us to aid you throughout this life-changing journey.

Voluntarily Terminating Parental Rights

Texas law allows a parent to give up his or her parental rights prior to an adoption. Either or both biological parents may sign an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights. This affidavit may be signed at least 48 hours after a child is born. It will list the parent's contact information and provide other details, including the name of the prospective adoptive parent or the agency that will serve as the child's managing conservator until the child is adopted.

A waiver of interest can also be completed by a person who is not a child's presumed father and who has not been listed on the child's birth certificate. This waiver can be signed at any time, including prior to the child's birth. It will state that a man does not intend to invoke any parental rights toward the child and that he waives the right to be notified in any suit that will affect the parent-child relationship, including future adoption cases. The waiver may also state that the man does not admit to being the child's biological father.

An affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights or a waiver of interest will not terminate the parent's rights. The termination of parental rights must be approved by a family court judge, who will review the facts of the case to determine whether the termination would be in the best interests of the child. However, if a parent who does not want to be involved in the child's life wishes to give up their parental rights, and a qualified adoptive parent will be stepping in to serve in this role, the termination of parental rights will likely be approved.

When Can Parental Rights Be Involuntarily Terminated?

Although it can be a lengthy, costly, and emotionally taxing process for all involved, parental rights may need to be involuntarily terminated by court order in some cases. Under Texas law, a parent's rights could potentially be terminated because of issues such as:

  • Abandonment of the child in which a parent voluntarily left the child without supervision or in the care of someone else and stated that they would not be returning. A parent may also be considered to have abandoned their child if they left the child without stating that they intended to return and did not provide financial support for the child for at least three months. Abandonment may also involve a parent leaving their child and failing to provide financial support for at least six months, even if they had stated that they planned to return at some point.
  • Knowingly placing a child in an environment where they were at risk of physical or emotional harm, including placing the child in the care of others who engaged in conduct that endangered the child's well-being.
  • Use of controlled substances in a way that put the child's health and safety at risk.
  • Crimes committed by one parent against the child's other parent, including murder, attempted murder, and sexual assault.
  • Criminal convictions that have caused a parent to be sentenced to prison and unable to provide care for the child for at least two years.
  • Criminal convictions or sentences of probation for offenses that resulted in the death or serious injury of a child, including offenses such as murder, manslaughter, assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, injury to a child, indecency with a child, abandoning or endangering a child, or possession of child pornography.
  • Failing to enroll a child in school as required.
  • Causing the child to be absent from the family's home without the consent of parents or guardians for a substantial amount of time or without plans to return.
  • Failing to provide financial support during a period of at least one year that ended within six months before a petition to terminate parental rights was filed.
  • Abandonment during pregnancy, which consists of a man who knew he was a child's father refusing to have contact with the mother from any point during pregnancy until the birth of the child, failing to provide financial support or medical care during the pregnancy, and failing to spend time with the child or provide financial support following the child's birth.

A parent who plans to adopt a child may petition for the involuntary termination of a parent's rights, and they will be required to provide evidence showing that the parent has engaged in one or more of the actions listed above or any other behavior that has put the child's health, safety, and well-being at risk. After a person's parental rights are terminated, adoption proceedings may continue, and once the adoption is approved by a judge, the adoptive parent(s) will be named the child's legal parent(s).

Contact Our Weatherford Termination of Parental Rights Lawyers

If your adoption case is likely to require an involuntary termination of parental rights, contact our office for guidance. Call 817-926-6153 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Texas adoption lawyer today. Our firm serves families in Parker County, Wise County, Tarrant County, and the surrounding communities.

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