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Family Law

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Termination of Parental Rights

Courts are very much in favor of awarding joint custodial rights to both parents during a custody battle, even a heated custody battle. It is very difficult to lose parental rights, and when it does happen, it should only be in the most extreme cases. If you have lost your parental rights during a child custody dispute, do not hesitate to contact an experienced family law attorney. The longer you delay, the more time may pass without access to your child.

Parental Rights

The rights of a parent relate to issues of child custody. Parents are afforded the following rights and duties of their children, which include:

  • Physical possession of the child;
  • Designation of the residence of the child;
  • Duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline;
  • Duty to support the child;
  • Duty to manage the estate of the child;
  • Right to consent to a child’s marriage;
  • Right to receive and gift child support; and
  • Right to make decisions concerning the child’s education.

A joint custody agreement will outline the various rights and duties which both parents will share, and which each parent will hold independently or exclusively. However, the following duties are those which a parent will hold at all times unless limited by a court order:

  • Right to receive information about a child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
  • To confer with the other parent regarding health and education decisions;
  • Access to medical and dental records and the right to consult with the doctors;
  • Right to consult with school officials and to attend school activities;
  • Right to be designated as the emergency contact; and
  • Right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency.

The overall rights of a parent will shift when the child is in their possession (such as the right to discipline the child). A parent who is named the sole managing conservator will be awarded the exclusive parental rights. However, a strong presumption exists that joint custody arrangements are in the best interests of the child, and therefore most parents will share the parental rights.

Termination of Parental Rights

Courts are very hesitant to terminate parental rights and therefore will require extensive support to do so. Some of the factors a court will look at in considering the termination of parental rights include whether the parent at issue did the following:

  • Knowingly left the child in a dangerous condition
  • Voluntarily left child in the possession of another without intent to return home
  • Failed to support child for 1 year
  • Abandoned known pregnant mother
  • Convicted of sex crime involving children
  • Used controlled substances endangering child
  • Cause of child being born addicted to alcohol or controlled substance
  • Knowingly engaged in criminal conduct resulting in imprisonment over 2 years

Some factors require little in the way of proof aside from third party reports. It is therefore important to consult with an attorney as soon as you discover that your parental rights are in consideration of termination.

Unfortunately, one of the most common ways for a man to have his parental rights terminated is the failure to file an admission of paternity after being served, or the failure to register with the state paternity registry.

The procedures begin to move quickly once an order to terminate parental rights is filed. You will have 20 days from the final order to appeal the findings. It is therefore important to act as soon as possible to preserve your parental rights.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Family Law Attorney

If your parental rights are in danger of being terminated, contact the attorneys of the Malley Law Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys will work with you to contest the termination or file an appeal if your rights have been terminated. Contact our Beaumont or Houston offices today for your initial free consultation.


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