What is the law on terminating parental rights in Texas?

The involuntary termination of parental rights implicates fundamental constitutional rights. Holick v. Smith, 685 S.W.2d 18, 20 (Tex. 1985). To terminate parental rights, the trier of fact must find, by clear and convincing evidence, that the parent has committed one of the acts prohibited under section 161.001(1) of the Texas Family Code and that termination of parental rights is in the child’s best
interest. TEX. FAM.CODE ANN. § 161.001(1), (2) (West Supp. 2012); In re E.N.C., 384 S.W.3d
796, 803 (Tex. 2012).

Clear and convincing evidence is “proof that will produce in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established.” FAM. § 101.007 (West 2008).

Before terminating a parent’s rights, the fact finder must find, in addition to one of the statutory grounds, that terminating the parent’s rights is in the child’s best interest. See FAM. §
161.001(2). In determining whether terminating the parent-child relationship is in a child’s best interest, we must consider the following factors:

  1. the child’s desires;
  2. the child’s present and future emotional and physical needs;
  3. the present and future emotional and physical danger to the child;
  4. the parenting abilities of the persons seeking custody;
  5. the programs available to the persons seeking custody to help promote the best interest of the child;
  6. the plans for the child by those persons seeking custody;
  7. the stability of the home or proposed placement;
  8. the acts or omissions of the parent which may indicate that the existing parentchild relationship is not a proper one; and
  9. any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent.

Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367, 371-72 (Tex. 1976).

If you have a question about terminating parental rights call the family lawyers at Guest and Gray for a confidential consultation.