Can an individual petition to terminate rights of a non-custodial parent without a lawyer?

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Can an individual petition to terminate rights of a non-custodial parent without a lawyer?

Also, we have not lived in the state the custody agreement was filed in for 4 years. Where should we file?

Asked on October 30, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Texas does have provisions for terminating the parental rights of a parent if the court finds that the termination is in the best interest of the child.  An individual can file the petition on their own.  This is also called pro se representation.  Many people do try to go forward, but considering that this is a techinical process and you have some multi-state issues, it wouldn't hurt to at least have a family law attorney review your paperwork before your file it.

As far as where to file.....If there are aleady a set of orders in place, then you can file in Texas if this is where the child resides.  However, you will need to file a motion with the original court to have the matters consolidated.  You will also have to pay any expenses associated with the consolidation.  The expense will usually incude a charge for copying and mailing the file.  The bigger the prior file, the more expensive the transfer will be.  Once the cases are consolidated, you can then ask for a final hearing on your petition to terminate.


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