successful female prosecutor presenting the caseImagine a world where you and your ex-partner disagree on child custody in Texas. It’s a heartbreaking situation, and you’re determined to do whatever it takes to protect your child’s best interests.

Jury Trial in Texas

A jury trial involves a group of randomly selected citizens who listen to evidence presented by both parties and then make decisions based on the law. In Texas, Family Code §105.002 permits a jury to decide issues of child custody, which is an option rarely found in other jurisdictions.

However, it’s essential to understand that a jury’s role is somewhat limited. According to Texas Family Code §105.002(c), a jury cannot decide issues related to child support, visitation, or the termination of parental rights. Those matters are reserved for a judge’s ruling.

So, what can a jury decide in a child custody case? In a child custody case, a jury can decide:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Jury Trials in Child Custody Cases

There are several benefits to requesting a jury trial for child custody, including:

Democratic Process: A jury trial allows a cross-section of the community to participate in the legal process, which can result in a more democratic and representative decision.

Multiple Perspectives: With several jurors, you get the benefit of multiple viewpoints, which can reduce the impact of personal biases that a single judge might bring into the decision-making process.

Potential for Empathy: Jurors may bring a more emotional or compassionate perspective, which can sometimes work in favor of parents who may not have the law entirely on their side but have a compelling story.

There are also a few drawbacks to requesting a jury trial for child custody, including:

Unpredictability: The jury’s decision is inherently less predictable than that of a single judge who has experience in family law. This could be risky in sensitive matters like child custody.

Cost and Time: Jury trials are usually more expensive and time-consuming than bench trials. The longer trial process increases legal fees and can prolong the emotional stress on the family.

Limited Scope: In states like Texas, a jury can decide on conservatorship (custody) but cannot rule on matters like child support, visitation, or termination of parental rights, which are left to a judge’s discretion.

Choosing whether to opt for a jury trial in a child custody case is a decision that should be made carefully, considering both the advantages and disadvantages. Consulting a competent family law attorney can provide invaluable guidance in making this crucial decision.

How Does It Work?

To request a jury trial for a child custody case in Texas, you must first file a formal written request, often known as a “demand for a jury trial,” with the court where your case is pending. This must be done in accordance with the deadlines and rules set forth by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and local court rules, typically at least 30 days before the trial date.

Alongside the request, you’ll also need to pay a jury fee, the amount of which varies depending on the jurisdiction. It’s crucial to adhere to all procedural requirements, as failure to do so could result in your request being denied.

Why Choose Chip Parker Law Firm?

Choosing to go for a jury trial in a child custody case in Texas is not a decision to be taken lightly. It involves numerous considerations, from costs to emotional investments. However, it also presents an opportunity for a more balanced judgment, potentially eliminating any biases inherent in a single-judge system.

If you find yourself facing this complicated crossroad, don’t traverse it alone. The Chip Parker Law Firm in Amarillo is here to guide you through every twist and turn of family law. Our experienced attorneys understand the intricacies of child custody jury trials, and we are committed to advocating for the best interests of you and your child.

Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step in securing your family’s future.

documents about termination of parental rights in a court (2)Terminating parental rights in Texas is a challenging and emotionally charged process that involves permanently severing the legal relationship between a parent and child.

This decision is not taken lightly and comes with far-reaching implications for everyone involved. Given its complexity, legal guidance is crucial, and Chip Parker Law Firm can help you navigate this convoluted process.

Understanding the Reasons for Termination

In legal terms, “terminate parental rights” refers to the legal process in which a court permanently severs all legal rights and responsibilities of a parent toward their child. This can include the termination of the parent’s rights to custody, visitation, and even the obligation for child support.

Once parental rights have been terminated, the parent no longer has any legal claim to the child, and the child may be adopted without the parent’s consent. The process is usually irreversible and is considered to be one of the most drastic actions a court can take in family law matters.

According to the Texas Family Code § 161, parental rights can be terminated on several grounds including, but not limited to…

Abuse or Neglect

In Texas, “abuse” means causing physical, emotional, or sexual harm to a child. “Neglect” is failing to provide basic needs like food, shelter, or medical care. Child Protective Services (CPS) investigates these issues and may seek to terminate parental rights if the child is at risk.

Abandonment

Abandonment in Texas occurs when a parent leaves a child in unsafe conditions and shows no intent to return. This can lead to termination of parental rights.

Parental Incarceration

Long-term imprisonment of a parent, especially for violent crimes, can be grounds for terminating parental rights in Texas.

Each of these terms carries significant weight in Texas law and can lead to the permanent severing of the parent-child relationship. Legal guidance is crucial in these complex matters.

Legal Requirements

In the state of Texas, the termination of parental rights is a serious legal procedure guided by specific requirements. A court must find that there is “clear and convincing evidence” to justify the termination. This legal standard is higher than a simple preponderance of the evidence but lower than the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Additionally, the court must determine that the termination is in the “best interests of the child,” a principle governed by various factors such as the child’s physical and emotional needs, the parenting abilities of the individuals seeking custody, and any existing or future danger to the child.

Voluntary Surrender of Parental Rights

This can be confusing, but no one is ever allowed to just terminate their own rights, or give their parental rights to someone else. Parental rights can only be terminated by a Court order, and only if the Judge believes it is in the child’s best interests.

Courts will not grant a termination of parental rights unless there is just no other real option. Other steps can be taken when necessary such as no child contact with an abusive parent.

Once completed, the affidavit must be filed with the relevant Texas court. A judge will then review the document and must approve it for the process to proceed. The court also evaluates whether relinquishing rights serves the child’s best interests.

How to File a Petition

Here are the steps involved in terminating parental rights in Texas:

Why Professional Guidance from Chip Parker Law Firm is Essential

Terminating parental rights is a complex and difficult legal process that requires a robust understanding of Texas family law. The ramifications are profound and life-altering for both the parent and the child involved. However, sometimes it is the most suitable choice for the safety and well-being of the child.

If you find yourself at this juncture, legal assistance is imperative. Chip Parker Law Firm can help you through every step of this daunting process. With a range of services, we aim to simplify the complexity of family law issues for you.

Considering the severity and the intricacies involved in terminating parental rights, don’t go it alone. Contact Chip Parker Law Firm to schedule a consultation and ensure that your case is handled with the utmost professionalism and care.

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Time is of the essence. The sooner you act, the more legal options can work for you. Call us now at (806) 379-2010, or fill-up the form below.