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Ask BeckyH Your Own Question
BeckyH, Paralegal
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37
Experience:  18 years' family law experience. [This post should not be construed as legal advice.]
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I live in Texas and want to relinquish my parental rights ...

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I live in Texas and want to relinquish my parental rights of my teen-aged son to his bio dad. My son is currently on probation and living with his bio dad. He was removed from our home because he was increasingly abusing his younger siblings (ages 4 and younger at the time) for the sole purpose of living with his bio dad. He is headed down the wrong road but refuses to straighten out and for the security of my younger children, I do not want to be held legally or financially responsible for any crimal acts he may commit in the future. Yes, we have tried counseling for several years, but he says all he wants is to live with his bio dad.
I'm assuming that you adopted him at some point? If you have legal rights, his biological dad would need to adopt him when you terminate your rights. Does he agree to do this?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to BeckyH's Post: I am his biological mom. I have raised him his entire life and his bio dadhad very little contact with him over the years. So now he wants to act like a pal instead of a parent to win him over...and it worked.

Oh, I'm sorry. I read your post wrong.

The courts will not let you terminate your rights unless someone is going to "take your place" so to speak. You could relinquish custody without terminating your rights. Are you referring to terminating your parental rights or relinquishing custody?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to BeckyH's Post: I am wanting to relinquish my rights and custody to his bio dad.

Texas does not like to terminate a parent's rights unless someone is adoption the child in their place. For example, you could relinquish your rights if there was a step-mother or even another family member willing to adopt. You can contact an attorney in your area to see if the judges in your particular county will approve terminations without an adoption. If so, you can file a document that terminates your parental rights. You would file a Petition to Terminate. The court will appoint an attorney to represent your child's interests. If that attorney finds the termination to be in the best interest of the child, the court may approve it. If the family courts can't help you, why don't you try posting a question in the criminal law area to see if there is anything you can do to limit or minimize your liability. I don't know criminal law, so I don't know that answer to that.

Based on the Texas Family Code, you can limit your liability by having the biological father have the exclusive duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child. You could conder having the modification order, where he is appointed as the primary parent with the exclusive right to determine the domicile, also give him this exclusive right, as follows:

§ 41.001. LIABILITY. A parent or other person who has
the duty of control and reasonable discipline of a child is liable
for any property damage proximately caused by:
(1) the negligent conduct of the child if the conduct
is reasonably attributable to the negligent failure of the parent
or other person to exercise that duty; or
(2) the wilful and malicious conduct of a child who is
at least 10 years of age but under 18 years of age.

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20,
1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 587, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

§ 41.002. LIMIT OF DAMAGES. Recovery for damage caused
by wilful and malicious conduct is limited to actual damages, not to
exceed $25,000 per occurrence, plus court costs and reasonable
attorney's fees.

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, § 1, eff. April 20,
1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 783, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Hope this information helps.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to BeckyH's Post: Do I have to use a lawyer or can I submit a request for change to the courts on my own? Money is rather tight right now and I would like to do this as inexpensively as possible.

There is never a requirement to use an attorney. You can represent yourself Pro Se. What you may want to do is see if he will hire a lawyer to petition the court to modify the conservatorship and prepare the Agreed Order. I would suggest paying an attorney to review the Final Order before you sign it since his attorney will only be protecting his client's best interest. Some attorneys will review an Order and charge you their hourly rate for their time. Should run you a few hundred dollars. You will want to make sure he has any exclusive rights and duties that will minimize your liability.

Good luck. Don't forget to ACCEPT my answer so that I may be paid for my time and research.


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