How can I terminate parental rights from absent father? 1 Answers as of April 12, 2011

He is a violent person and has not been in my childs life since she was born. He has no visitation rights until Jan 2012. The child will be 7 yrs old and I do not want my child exposed to his environment. How can i terminate rights?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
You have to file a petition seeking to terminate his rights. It is not automatic, you have to prove it would be in your daughter's best interest. Without knowing the facts and circumstances, I cannot say if you can meet this obligation or not. There are multiple reason under the law to terminate rights, you have to fit within one of those reasons and for that, you should consult a lawyer who is familiar with the judge in your jurisdiction (termination is not simple, and it is presumed to NOT be in the best interest of the child, so you have to prove otherwise). As an example, I was at the courthouse 10-11 years ago, a man had filed a suit to terminate his rights, the mother did not care. The Judge, acting out of an abundance of caution, and because she really did not want to grant the termination just because the sperm donor wanted to stop paying child support, appointed me to represent the child as an attorney ad-litem. Without even looking at the pleadings, I advised the court that I would accept the duty, look over the facts, and file a report but my initial opinion is that "if this man ever wins the lottery, we will have denied this child her inheritance".

The Judge thanked me for the response and denied the Motion for Termination without any evidence or further testimony. That one statement alone was enough since Mom had simply said Dad is not a problem, pays his child support but does not participate in the child's life. Dad's claim to the court was that he was not part of her life and did not want to be. The truth - as the Judge and I saw it - is that he wanted the termination so he would not have to pay support.

So, consider carefully what you want, and why. Then consider how it will affect your daughter long term. Finally, be advised that termination of rights also terminates duties. You cannot terminate his rights and keep child support. If you are okay with this after looking at it from this point of view (the one the Judge will be using) then find a local lawyer and proceed. I handle matters like this in Collin County and Dallas County and offer a free initial consultation.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/12/2011
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