Lake Jackson Termination Attorneys
Experienced and Compassionate Representation
At JM Davis Law PLLC, we seek to provide compassionate legal support to our clients as they face family legal issues, especially when their future as parents hangs in the balance. Termination of parental rights is an important legal matter that will require the skill and knowledge of an experienced attorney at JM Davis Law PLLC, who can ensure your rights are being protected, whether you seek to petition for a parent’s termination or have such a petition against you.
Two Types of Termination
The termination of parental rights is the legal process whereby the court ends the parent-child relationship between a child and one or both of their parents. The process may be referred to as a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, or SAPCR. Be aware that parental rights can only be terminated by court order.
There numerous different reasons a court may need to terminate parental rights. A primary reason may be if the child needs to be made eligible for adoption. For instance, in stepparent adoptions, if the stepparent seeks to adopt their spouse’s biological child, they will need to petition for the termination of the rights of the child’s other parent. Note that termination of parental rights can be joined together with an adoption case, where the court may terminate the parent-child relationship in the same hearing as the adoption.
Termination of parental rights can be either “voluntary” or “involuntary.” In a “voluntary” termination case, the parent(s) whose rights are to be terminated agree to the terms by completing the required paperwork (“affidavit of voluntary relinquishment”) or asking the judge to terminate their rights. In involuntary termination cases, the court may pursue a termination of parental rights without the parent’s agreement if the parent:
- abandoned or did not support the child;
- endangered the child;
- engaged in criminal conduct;
- is otherwise unfit.
The Filing Process
A termination of parental rights case can be filed before or any time after a child is born. However, there are certain situations that may warrant a more specific timeline. For instance, a termination case based on the other parent’s failure to support a child for 1 year must be filed no later than 6 months after the parent begins to support the child, if at all. A mistaken paternity case must also be filed by the father no later than 2 years after they find out they are not the child’s biological father. Additionally, a foster parent who has had possession of a child for at least 12 months must file a termination case no later than 90 days after the foster parent’s possession ends.
Termination cases can be complicated to navigate, and they can be risky decisions that will severely impact a child’s future. It is advisable to consult an experienced termination lawyer to better discuss the options in your situation, especially if:
- the parent is afraid for their or their child’s safety;
- the case is contested;
- the other parent has a lawyer; or
- they need child support.
A termination case officially ends the legal relationship between a child and their parent(s), and in certain situation it may also:
- name a managing conservator (or joint managing conservators);
- name a possessory conservator;
- order child support;
- terminate a child’s right to inherit from or through the parent;
- change a child’s name;
- address other relevant issues.
Note that termination cases require “clear and convincing evidence,” which is a fairly high standard to meet and can best be strategized with a legal professional. The termination decision must also be in the best interests of the child, which include:
- the child’s desires;
- the child’s emotional and physical needs now and in the future;
- the emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future;
- the parental abilities of the individual seeking custody;
- the programs available to assist the individuals to promote the best interest of the child;
- the plans for the child made by the individual seeking custody;
- the stability of the home or proposed placement;
- the acts or omissions of the parent that indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and
- any excuse for the parent’s acts or omissions.
Contact JM Davis Law PLLC for Legal Help Today
If you seek to petition for termination of parental rights or have such a petition against you, contact an experienced termination lawyer at JM Davis Law PLLC immediately for legal support. Termination cases are very consequential and will significantly impact a parent’s and child’s future. The legal team at JM Davis Law PLCL has years of experience with family-related legal issues including termination, both in the realm of adoption and custody, so they can employ the professional knowledge and skill you need to face your termination case.