For most parents, the relationship with their children is one of the most cherished bonds in their lives. Yet, this may not be the case for your spouse. If you two are divorcing, they might have floated the idea of terminating their parental rights to avoid paying child support. Not only could this outcome leave you high and dry financially, it would leave your children without a parent. Fortunately, in Texas, this heartbreaking scenario is unlikely to happen.
Understanding when parental rights can be terminated in Texas
For a parent to have their rights terminated in Texas, they – or a petitioner – must show that doing so would be in their children’s best interests. Usually, this happens in situations where a parent’s conduct puts their children in harm’s way or is at odds with their well-being. Some reasons that parents could have their rights terminated in the state include:
- Criminal conduct
- Failure to provide support for more than one year
Because the threshold for terminating parental rights is high in Texas, it is unlikely that the court would find that terminating your spouse’s – if they do not want to pay child support – would benefit your children. So long as your spouse is an otherwise fit parent, the court will consider it in your children’s best interests to have them remain part of their lives. One situation where the court would consider your spouse’s request is if there is another person – like a step-parent – who wants to adopt and support your children.
Dealing with a spouse who wants to terminate their parental rights
If your spouse has voiced that they want to terminate their parental rights to avoid child support, their actions will likely make your divorce far more difficult than it would otherwise be. While their attempts will not succeed, they may point to a willingness to engage in other means of avoiding their obligation in the future. To prevent this from happing, you will want to consult a family law attorney, who can help you understand your options for holding them accountable.