The bond between a parent and a child often forms one of the strongest connections in a person’s life. In the Texas courts, the severing of this bond only happens under exceptional circumstances.
A look at features of Chapter 161 of the Texas Family Code illustrates when the courts can and cannot impact parental rights.
In certain cases, according to a Texas government website, the courts can terminate parental rights. For example, the courts would need to find clear and convincing evidence that a parent abandoned a child and expressed an intent not to return. Without the explicit intent not to return, the courts could terminate rights due to several present conditions:
- The passage of three months or more
- The endangerment of the child
- A lack of financial support
- A lack of support for the child’s emotional well-being
A father who fails to support the mother of his child during pregnancy and continues this practice after birth can also lose parental rights. The failure of a parent or of parents to enroll children in school or to provide adequate means of identification of the child can also lead to court-ordered termination proceedings.
The courts cannot end parental rights for most lifestyle choices parents make. These include the decision to home-school a child and the decision to forego immunization due to religious or other beliefs. Nor can the legal system remove a child from his or her parents merely because of earning a low wage.
Parental rights in the courts take on many difficult situations. Court cases can involve many points of law that require legal knowledge and experience.