Adoption & Termination of Parental Rights
Houston Adoption Lawyer
In Texas, the termination of parental rights, also referred to as the termination of the parent-child relationship, may be voluntary or involuntary. When it is voluntary, it is often referred to as relinquishment. When it is involuntary, the court may order the termination of parental rights, but this is only done in specific circumstances. Whether it is voluntary or involuntary, the termination of parental rights is a necessary step before a child can be adopted by another person.
A child can only have one set of parents, and this means that the parental rights of any other persons who have a claim to a child must be terminated before that child can be legally adopted. This makes room for the exclusive rights of the adoptive parent or parents. If you have questions about adoption and the termination of parental rights, we at Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can assist you. We handle adoptions for clients in Houston and across Harris County and can help you understand exactly what is needed for your adoption to go through.
Call our Houston offices at (713) 234-6260 to discuss your case, needs, and concerns.
Voluntary vs. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
Under Texas Family Code, a biological parent can voluntarily terminate his or her parental rights. When this occurs, the court will typically still need to rule that such a termination is in the child’s best interests. The court may also order the termination of parental rights if a parent has signed an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment or if an alleged father has signed an affidavit waiving interest.
For parental rights to be involuntarily terminated by court order, a high legal standard must be met. Through clear and convincing evidence, it must be determined that such a termination is in the child’s best interests.
The involuntary termination of parental rights may be based on:
- Parental abandonment or failure to support a child
- The parent(s) endangered the child
- The parent(s) engaged in criminal conduct
- The parent(s) are otherwise unfit to care for the child
How the Termination of Parental Rights May Affect Your Adoption
If you are looking to adopt, whether you are a stepparent, grandparent, or another relative, or if you are seeking to adopt a child through an agency or independently, the termination of parental rights will be involved in your case. Attorney Kay Polk has experience with these matters and can advise you of what to expect and how to ensure your adoption goes as smoothly as possible.