Absent Parents in Child Custody Cases
When parents share custody of a child, it can be difficult for both parents to be involved in every aspect of their child’s life. While most parents cherish the time they have with their children, though, some neglect their parental duties altogether and essentially disappear from their children’s lives. Absent parents in child-custody cases may face serious consequences, including the loss of their parental rights. If your co-parent is not present in your child’s life or you have been accused of being an absent parent, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney about your options for protecting your and your child’s interests. The assertive Dallas child-custody attorneys of McClure Law Group understand the emotional and legal complexities that can arise in custody disputes, and if we represent you, we will fight tirelessly to help you seek your desired outcome.Absent Parents in Child-Custody Cases
The Texas Family Code (the “Code”) provides that the courts must rule in a child’s best interest when determining conservatorship and access rights. The Code also underscores the importance of both parents' involvement in a child's life. In other words, it states that Texas’s public policy is to encourage parents to share in the rights and obligations of raising their child and to ensure children have ongoing and frequent contact with their parents, provided their parents act in their best interest. As such, it can be challenging for the court to make custody determinations when one parent is absent.
If an order defining parental rights is not in place, the parent or party actively caring for the child should seek a custody determination to ensure that their rights are protected going forward. The court evaluates numerous factors before making custody determinations, including whether both parents participated in raising the child prior to the filing of the suit. The courts can also consider any other factor they deem relevant, including whether the absent parent made any efforts to establish a relationship with the child and the potential effects of the absence on the child's emotional and psychological well-being. When one parent is largely absent, it is likely that the court will find it in the child’s best interest to grant the present parent primary or possibly even sole custody.Terminating the Rights of Absent Parents in Child Custody Cases
A parent may also seek to terminate the parental rights of their absent co-parent. Pursuant to the Code, child abandonment is a valid reason for terminating parental rights. Abandonment occurs when a parent voluntarily leaves their child alone or in another's care without adequate support for at least six months. Parents can also choose to voluntarily terminate their parental rights if they believe it's in the child's best interest or if they can't fulfill their responsibilities.
The courts do not make the decision to terminate parental rights lightly, as it is a drastic and permanent measure. If a parent is absent or unknown, another attorney may represent their interests in termination proceedings, ensuring the process is fair, and the parent’s rights are protected. Further, the court may appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the child. This attorney gathers facts, interviews parties and witnesses, and attends hearings to advocate for the child's best interests. They make recommendations to the judge to safeguard the child's rights.Confer With a Capable Dallas Attorney
The Texas court’s primary objective in child-custody cases is to rule in the child’s best interests, which, in some instances, means limiting or terminating the rights of an absent parent. If you need assistance defining your parental rights or those of your co-parent, it is smart to meet with an attorney. The capable Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to prevail in custody cases, and if we represent you, we will gather the evidence needed to set forth persuasive arguments on your behalf to provide you with a strong chance of a successful outcome. Our main office is located in Dallas, and we can meet clients for appointments at our Collin-County office located in Plano. We regularly assist parties with child custody disputes in Dallas, Fort Worth, Rockwall, Frisco, McKinney, Irving, Richardson, and Garland. We also represent people in family-law cases in cities in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Rockwall, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us by calling 214.692.8200 or by using our form online to set up a confidential conference.