In Texas, as in most states, the law presumes that it is in a child’s best interests to be raised by both parents, at least in a limited capacity. However, in appropriate cases, the Texas courts will take away parents’ custody rights. As in all child custody matters, the key focus is on protecting the “best interests” of the child involved.

Potential Grounds to Seek Termination of Custody

Under Texas law, a parent can lose custody on the same grounds that a parent can be denied custody during a divorce or separation. These grounds include:

  • Family ViolenceFamily violence, including violence toward a child or a former spouse or partner, is a very serious matter that can preclude a parent from spending time with his or her child.
  • Abandonment (Parental Relocation)Abandonment of parental responsibilities during a marital or cohabitational relationship or as a single parent can result in loss of parental rights as well.
  • Child AlienationChild alienation, or attempting to negatively influence a child’s relationship with his or her other parent, is impermissible and can justify imposition of a judicial remedy.
  • Drug or Alcohol Abuse – If a parent’s longstanding drug or alcohol abuse endangers a child’s safety or welfare, it may provide grounds for seeking termination of parental rights.
  • Criminal Conduct – Criminal conduct that endangers a child or results in long-term imprisonment may justify termination of parental rights as well.
  • Presenting a Danger to the Child – With Texas’s focus on protecting the best interests of the child, any other conduct or circumstances that presents a danger to the child can potentially serve as grounds for a parent to seek sole custody.

However, it should be emphasized once again that the Texas courts will generally favor maintaining a relationship with both parents – even a very limited and supervised relationship – over terminating one parent’s rights entirely.

Alternatives to Termination of Custody in Texas

If you are concerned for your child but it does not appear feasible to terminate your former spouse’s or partner’s parental rights entirely, what other options do you have available?

  • A Restraining Order or Protective Order – In cases of family violence and child alienation, parents can seek a restraining order or protective order to protect their children. These orders can be obtained quickly if necessary, and their terms can be custom-tailored to the particular facts and family dynamics at hand.
  • Modification of Custody – Even if you cannot terminate your former spouse’s or partner’s custody rights, you may be able to petition the court for a modification. If, due to a change in circumstances, your current custody arrangement no longer reflects your child’s best interests, you can request an alternate arrangement that is better suited to the present circumstances.

Speak With a McKinney, TX Child Custody Lawyer in Confidence

If you would like more information about terminating or modifying custody or seeking a restraining order or protective order against your child’s other parent, we encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation. To speak with one of our experienced child custody lawyers in confidence, please call 214-726-1450 or send us a message online today.