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Termination of parental rights: What it means and how to fight

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Fathers' Rights |

Receiving threats from your co-parent (or anyone) involving the termination of parental rights is one of the most stressful things a parent can face. Sometimes, threats are just scare tactics, but it is critical to understand how the law in these matters works. 

Here is what you need to know if your co-parent continues threatening your parental (and fathers’) rights or tries to take them away.

They need a demonstrable reason

Legally ending a parent-child relationship is a grave step that family courts do not take without justification. Your co-parent would need grounds to persuade a judge to consider removing your parental rights. 

There are specific grounds for the termination of parental rights in Texas, including:

  • Abuse/neglect (physical or psychological harm, lack of necessities)
  • Abandonment (leaving the child and not returning)
  • Mental illness (if severe enough to hinder care/safety)
  • Unfitness (drug abuse, alcoholism, violence)

The burden of proof is high in termination cases. The other party must present “clear and convincing evidence” that shows how terminating the relationship serves the child’s best interests. Extensive documentation and expert witness testimony is often required.

Steps you can take

Although many of these threats are empty, you should not discount the possibility that your co-parent will act on their warning. Taking these two steps can ease your mind and help safeguard your rights.

  • Document encounters and communications with your co-parent, especially any threats.
  • Prioritize your child’s well-being at all times to show the court your parenting skills.

Rest assured that courts do not separate children from their parents except in extreme circumstances. If your concerns remain, speak with someone knowledgeable about family law about putting safeguards in place.