The state generally wants to keep parents in their child’s life. However, there may be situations in which a parent is not healthy or safe for a child, so the court will terminate his or her parental rights.
The Texas Constitution and Statutes outline the specific situations in which the court has the authority to terminate parental rights.
If a parent leaves the child with anyone other than the other parent and makes it known that he or she intends to never return, then the court will see that as abandoning the child and the rights to that child. The court may require proof that the parent stopped all forms of support for at least three months to prove abandonment.
If the parent leaves the child with the other parent and fails to provide any type of support for six months, the court may also determine this is abandonment.
Abandonment may also be leaving the child in a dangerous situation or not providing support for one year. Abandonment may occur during pregnancy if a father knows about the pregnancy yet chooses to leave the mother and not provide any support.
If the parent fails to follow court orders on a repeat basis, the court may strip him or her of parental rights. A criminal conviction related to the death, serious injury or sexual abuse of a minor also can be grounds to terminate parental rights.
The court can also consider other situations where the parent has had parental rights removed. Drug or alcohol abuse that puts the child at risk and where the parent failed to seek help could also lead to rights revocation.
The court ensures there is significant evidence in every situation when considering termination of rights regardless of the grounds.