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Termination of parental rights

Discussion in 'Other Family Law Matters' started by And.Cope, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. And.Cope

    And.Cope Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Texas
    My 7yo son's biological father is currently incarcerated for violating his parole. I have evidence that he is mentally unstable - specifically suicidal, that he is violent, and using narcotics.

    I have primary custody, and our county court granted him visitation rights in September, 2017. He was arrested in December, 2017, for violating his parole, and was also in possession of illegal drugs at the time of his arrest. I am not yet sure what length of time his sentence will be.

    In addition to being concerned for my son's safety, my current husband of 5 years - whom my son has lived with and grown up with since he was 2yo, wants to adopt him. These are my reasons for wanting to terminate his biological father's parental rights.

    Is it possible to terminate his rights, against his will, while he is incarcerated?
    What does this process look like? How do we begin the process? Specifically what forms and paperwork do we need to fill out and where do we file it?
     
  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    No one here could intelligently say that it is absolutely and unequivocally impossible, so it's necessarily possible. My only substantive thought is that terminating the father's rights isn't likely to happen solely because of his incarceration.

    You'll have to discuss this with a local attorney who handles adoptions. There's no way to get any sort of step-by-step "how to" guide from an internet message board. Moreover, an adoption -- even under the most ideal circumstances -- is not a good do-it-yourself project.
     
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  3. And.Cope

    And.Cope Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to respond and shed some light on this matter.

    Is the decision to terminate his parental rights entirely up to a judge's discretion? We feel confident we have substantial evidence that his is mentally unstable, suicidal, and using narcotics.

    Also, what is the father's ability to object or fight this process, while being incarcerated?
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No, you can't terminate or extinguish the parental rights of another person.

    Heck, you can't extinguish YOUR parental rights.

    The bar for parenting is very, very low.

    CPS or the a prosecutor can bring such an action before a district court.

    Nothing you've described about the father indicates he's a candidate to lose his parental rights.

    Even if he were ruled to be mentally incompetent, he's locked away in some TDCJ gulag, or soon will be.

    He's no danger to anyone in our Great Republic of Texas, because he's a prisoner.

    If he were to be released, he'd have to do far more than you've described to the child, before the state would bring such an action.

    You're a mother for life, and he's a father for life.

    Be careful with whom you breed, because you're tied together for at least 18 years.
     
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  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    TDCJ provides taxpayer funded counsel to represent state inmates for civil matters, including any action to strip someone of paternal rights.

    However, that won't happen based upon what you've described.

    You're free to contact CPS or hire yourself an attorney to pursue the matter further.
     
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  6. And.Cope

    And.Cope Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Not sure what you mean by your first two statements...? Do you mean it's unlikely or actual not possible/unlawful to terminate the parental rights of another person?
    Also, what about a voluntary termination of parental rights?
     
  7. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Yes (although I'm sure the judge's discretion will be informed by existing statutory and/or case law).

    I have no idea what this particular individual's abilities are. That he is incarcerated will make it a bit more difficult to deal with the case than if he were not incarcerated. On the other hand, incarcerated persons have nothing but time on their hands.

    My guess is that "army judge" was pointing out that only a court can terminate a person's parental rights (i.e., you can't do it; only a court can do it). While that is obviously true, you certainly can seek to have the father's rights terminated in connection with an action by which your husband seeks to adopt the child. As I previously mentioned, I am skeptical it will happen based on what you've told us, but I again encourage you to consult with a local attorney.

    There's no such thing. A parent can consent to, or choose not to oppose, the adoption of his/her child by someone else, and the adoption, if granted, will have the effect of terminating the birth parent's rights, but that's the only thing that even comes close. It is an oddly common myth that one can "voluntarily terminate" one's parental rights simply by signing a piece of paper to that effect.
     
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  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It is unlikely you will be able to terminate parental rights based on the info you have given.
    What you do have is likely sufficient information to petition for a modification to the visitation order due to his drug use. He may get reduced visitation time and possibly require a responsible third party to be present for supervision.
    A modification of the order is likely your best approach. Adoption is likely not an option unless the father is willing to relinquish his rights.
     
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  9. InsideSpark

    InsideSpark New Member

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    Have you asked the father if he'd be willing to consent to the adoption by your husband ?
     

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