As a parent, one of your greatest concerns is undoubtedly the well-being and custody of your child. Unfortunately, in some cases, your parental rights may be at risk of termination due to various circumstances. The prospect of parental rights termination can take a deep emotional toll on families.
These rights, once severed, can be incredibly challenging to reinstate, making prevention crucial. This blog aims to shed light on measures parents can take to protect and prevent the termination of their parental rights.
Understand Your Legal Rights as a Parent
In the state of Texas, parental rights are typically established at the time of a child's birth. If you are married, and your spouse gives birth, you are automatically recognized as the parent/father. For unmarried individuals, signing an acknowledgment of paternity (AOP)or obtaining a court order can establish parental rights.
Establishing paternity/parentage is important for several reasons, including:
- Ensuring that both parents uphold their financial duty to their shared child.
- To guarantee access to important benefits, like social security, health insurance, inheritance, and more.
- To secure known medical history for the child.
For parents who are separated or divorced, in addition to parentage rights, they must also be concerned with custody rights. Texas law recognizes two types of custody: Joint Managing Conservatorship (JMC) and Sole Managing Conservatorship (SMC). JMC, the more common type, means that both parents share decision-making responsibilities about their child's health, education, and welfare. However, it does not necessarily imply equal physical custody. On the other hand, SMC assigns these rights to one parent alone, typically in cases where the child's safety or well-being is at risk.
Meanwhile, the physical possession of the child (sometimes referred to as visitation or physical custody) is managed through a Standard Possession Order (SPO). The SPO establishes the schedule for the child's time with each parent.
Understanding these definitions and how they apply to your situation is important, as they can significantly impact your parental rights.
Protecting Your Parental Rights and Parenting Time
To protect your parental rights and your right to parenting time (access and possession), it's crucial to demonstrate that you are committed to maintaining a healthy and stable environment for your child. This includes ensuring your home is safe and secure, providing for your child's basic needs (like food, clothing, and medical care), and offering emotional support. It is also vital that you adhere to all court orders and avoid any instances of non-compliance.
Effective communication with your co-parent is also essential. It's important to prioritize your child's best interests and work cooperatively with your co-parent to make decisions about your child's upbringing. This includes matters related to healthcare, education, and other aspects of your child's life. Demonstrating respect for your co-parent's rights and maintaining open lines of communication can help minimize conflicts and ensure a more positive co-parenting relationship.
Another way to strengthen your case in preserving your parental rights is by attending parenting classes or counseling. These resources can equip you with essential parenting tools and strategies, offering guidance on effectively responding to your child's needs and improving your parenting skills. Courts may view this proactive approach favorably as evidence of your dedication to providing the best care for your child.
Lastly, consistently demonstrating your commitment to improving your relationship with your child is essential. This can involve spending quality time with your child, actively engaging in their life, and providing love and emotional support. Courts will consider a parent's involvement and commitment in making decisions about parental rights and demonstrating a strong, positive relationship with your child can work in your favor.
Secure Experienced Legal Representation
When facing the potential termination of your parental rights, seeking professional legal assistance from a reputable family law firm like the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC can go a long way in helping you feel more confident and supported. Our firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of parents in the Richmond, TX, area, and we have a proven track record of success in parental rights cases.
Remember, every family law case is unique, and you want to work with an attorney with the capacity to tailor their representation to your specific circumstances. Our team is ready to do just that. Contact us online to schedule a consultation today.