When would a court appoint a parent coordinator or parent facilitator?
A court will appoint a parent coordinator or parent facilitator when the court determines that the case is a high-conflict case or there is good cause and it is in the best interest of the child. Generally, a parent coordinator or a parent facilitator is an impartial individual who is under the Texas Family Code and can perform a series of duties in an effort to resolve parenting issues. The primary difference between a parent coordinator and a parent facilitator is that a parent coordinator must use confidential procedures that are not subject to disclosure to the court.
Can a non-parent or grandparent ask for conservatorship?
Only in limited circumstances can a person other than a parent be granted conservatorship for a child.
Non-parent: First, the non-parent must show that he or she can ask the court for conservatorship; this is referred to as ” standing.” One way a non-parent can demonstrate standing is by showing that he or she has had “actual care, control and possession of the child for at least six months” and this six-month time period has not ended more than 90 days prior to filing the suit. Second, the non-parent must overcome (or rebut) the ” parental presumption” that the parent should be appointed the sole managing conservator or the parents shall be appointed the joint managing conservators.
Grandparent: A grandparent must also demonstrate standing prior to filing an original suit or intervention suit for conservatorship. Grandparents can utilize all the mechanisms available to non-parents as well as some other provisions in the Texas Family Code which grant grandparents possession and access under certain circumstances.
Can the child be restricted to a specific geographic area?
Yes, the court can restrict the child's primary residence to a specific geographic area. Usually the court will order the child to maintain primary residence within that county and its surrounding counties for as long as the non-custodial parent resides in that county or contiguous counties. The courts favor this type of domicile restriction because it is normally in the child's best interest to live close to both parents.
Can the child tell the court which parent he or she wants to live with?
Yes; if a child is 12 years or older the court shall interview the child in chambers, or if the child is under 12 years of age, the court may interview the child in chambers to determine the child's wishes as to conservatorship or as to the person who shall have the primary right to determine the child's residence.The application to have the child interviewed can be brought by a party, amicus attorney or an attorney ad litem in a non-jury trial or hearing.
What must take place for an adoption to be final?
To finalize an adoption the court must terminate the birth parent's rights to the child, and approve the adoption by signing an order granting the adoption.
What does it mean when a parent's rights have been terminated?
When a parent's rights have been terminated, it generally means that the parent is no longer considered a legal parent to the child. The parent who has been terminated of his or her parental rights will no longer have any legal rights, duties, or responsibilities to the child.
How are a parents rights terminated?
The parent may agree to having his or her rights terminated by signing a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights. In every other case, the court would need to find that it is in the child's best interest to terminate one or both parents' rights to the child.
What if the birth father cannot be located?
If the location or identity of the birth father is unknown, he is nevertheless entitled to notice of the proceedings, and you must show the court that you have diligently tried to find him. This may require giving notice by publication in a newspaper where the child was born and where the father was last known to live. In some cases, the birth mother may suspect more than one person may be the biological father which requires diligently trying to notice any suspected fathers. The rules for providing notice are complex and must be adhered to strictly; obtaining an experienced attorney is necessary to ensure that the proper procedures are followed.
Can the child's name be changed at the time of the adoption?
Yes; the name of the child can be changed, but must be specifically stated in the order granting the adoption. Once the order is signed by the court, you will need to specifically request the child's name to be changed, which requires additional paperwork to be processed through the court's clerk and the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Austin, Texas.