Could possession of a controlled substance and intent to deliver be grounds for termination of parental rights?

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2010

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Could possession of a controlled substance and intent to deliver be grounds for termination of parental rights?

My son’s father has been charged with multiple possession charges including controlled substance and intent to deliver. My son is 5 years old and his dad has only been out of prison for 3 years for a similar conviction. The father will be facing more time in prison, so I was wondering if I have a case if I try to take away his custody?

Asked on July 12, 2010 under Family Law, Texas


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If the father has custody now, or if you are sharing joint legal custody, I think there's an excellent chance that the new charges will be enough for you to win a motion to get sole legal custody for yourself.  Terminating parental rights probably isn't going to happen, at least not now.

You have two good arguments to make on the custody issue.  First, courts don't usually see drug dealers as very good parenting candidates, especially repeat offenders.  Second, once he's convicted and sentenced, his enforced absence from your son's life makes a difference, too.

Terminating parental rights altogether doesn't usually happen unless one of two things happens.  One of these is a lawsuit by the child protective services agency, and that's almost always based on either abuse or neglect that seriously endangers the child.  The other is when the parent with custody remarries and the new spouse seeks to adopt the child; the natural parent has to be given notice of the adoption case, and if the adoption is granted part of that will be the termination of rights.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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