Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption

Termination of Parental Rights

If you are a parent of a child your rights and duties to that child may be 'terminated' by a Court if there is legal cause and the termination is determined by a Judge or Jury to be in the child's 'best interest.' However, you cannot voluntarily terminate your parental rights and responsibilities to a child, just because you want to. Both mother and father may agree to terminate the parental rights to a child under certain circumstances but that decision must be approved by a Judge. A parent's rights and responsibilities to a child may also be terminated involuntarily (against the parent's wishes) for good cause. Texas law provides several 'grounds' (reasons) for taking this action; such as failure to pay child support, abandoning the mother while she is pregnant with the child, failing or refusing to visit the child, murdering the other parent of the child, and other reasons. The Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., can examine your unique situation and advise you on whether you have 'grounds' to terminate a parent's rights to their child against that parents will. The Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., can also help you negotiate an agreement with the other parent to 'voluntarily' terminate parental rights, and assist you in getting that agreement approved by a Judge. Termination of a parent's rights also terminates that parents 'responsibilities' regarding that child, such as: paying child support, providing medical care, and may in certain situations cut off the child's right to inherit from that parent. However, any previously ordered child support payments that have been ordered but not paid, must be paid even after a Court has terminated a parent's rights and responsibilities to a child. Additionally, it is legally possible for a parent whose rights to a child have been terminated; to still have that child inherit from that terminated parent at that parent's death.

Adoption

A person in Texas may also become a parent to a child without being the biological parent, through the process of 'adoption'. Both adults and children may be adopted. Frequently, there are 'step-parent adoptions, where a new spouse wants to adopt the children of their spouse. In order for there to be an adoption, there must first be a 'termination' of one or both of the child's biological parents. Sometimes this requires two separate lawsuits be filed; one for the termination and another for the Adoption. Texas law requires certain genetic information be provided, prospective adoptive parents must complete a criminal background check, and a social study must be done of the prospective adoptive home, by a specially appointed Examiner appointed by a Judge. Some of these requirements can be waived by a Judge, but the adoption process can be complicated, expensive, and time consuming. The Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., has over 20 years of experience in helping families navigate the difficult and complicated process of adoption. If you would like to adopt a child, please call the Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., and put our experience and knowledge to work for you.