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Termination of Parental Rights   Tags: paternity  

This legal research guide provides information on Texas statutes and other resources available in the library and online on the topic of termination of parental rights, often referred to as “relinquishment.”
Last Updated: Jun 17, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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For more information on your topic, please try searching our eBook collection or electronic databases.


Resources at the State Law Library

Below are some of the library resources that can provide further guidance on this topic. The Texas State Law Library has many other resources in addition to the highlights we present below. Please call us at (512) 463-1722 if you have any questions about these materials.

Cover Art
O'Connor's Texas family law handbook - Joan Foote Jenkins and Randall B. Wilhite
Call Number: KFT 505 O26
Publication Date: Annual
This book contains a subchapter titled "Suit for Termination." Arranged in outline form, this section provides details on the process from start to finish, including the contents of the petition.

Cover Art
O'Connor's family code plus - Joan Foote Jenkins and Randall B. Wilhite
Call Number: KFT 505 B43
Publication Date: Annual
This volume provides the full text of the Family Code, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, and Texas Rules of Evidence, all with case annotations. Selections of other relevant codes are included, making this a useful one-stop resource.

Cover Art
The handbook of Texas family law: a quick reference guide to the Texas Family Code - Don Koons
Call Number: KFT 209 T4 V. 33
Publication Date: Annual
This title offers discussion of both caselaw and legislation for family law matters, including termination of parental rights. It includes the full text of the Family Code as well as relevant provisions from the Government, Human Resources, and Penal Codes.

Introduction to Termination of Parental Rights

This guide provides an overview of Texas statutes and other resources available in the library and online on the topic of termination of parental rights. When this process is voluntary, it is often referred to as "relinquishment." A court can also order termination of rights which is involuntary. This is a necessary step before the child can be adopted by another parent.

Texas Law

Below you will find references to areas of the Texas Family Code governing termination of the parent-child relationship. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, you may want to look at the "plain English" resources on this page or speak to an attorney.

  • Texas Family Code ch. 161
    This chapter, "Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship," discusses grounds, procedures, and the hearing for both voluntary and involuntary termination of parental rights.

Explained in "Plain English"

Because Texas and federal law may not be easy to understand, below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in "plain English."

  • Common Questions about Adoptions
    This FAQ, created by the Texas Partnership for Legal Access, addresses questions that prospective adoptive parents may have about termination of parental rights.
  • Dept. of Family and Protective Services: Termination
    The DFPS publishes a practice guide aimed at attorneys who are representing Child Protective Services (CPS) in court. Section 5 of the publication deals with terminations of parental rights and contains annotations to case law that has interpreted the Family Code provisions that provide grounds for termination.
  • Mistaken Paternity
    This information from Partnership for Legal Access discusses options when one has mistakenly signed an Acknowledgment or Denial of Paternity or didn’t contest paternity in court. It includes sample forms related to terminating the parent-child relationship based on mistaken paternity.
  • Terminating Paternity
    Provided by the Partnership for Legal Access, this resource discusses steps to terminate paternity based on mistaken paternity.
  • Termination of Parental Rights
    This page is from a Texas attorney's website and states that most judges in Texas no longer allow terminating parental rights in order to avoid child support obligations.
  • Texas Paternity Law-Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]
    Created by the Partnership for Legal Access, this brochure provides basic information about paternity law. It includes discussion of termination based on mistaken paternity.

Who Can I Contact?

  • Texas Vital Statistics
    This agency is responsible for amending birth records based on parentage. Their webpage provides detailed instructions to amend a child's birth certificate.
  • Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
    This agency is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect. One of the possible outcomes of an investigation by this office is eventual termination of parental rights by a a court.

Legal Research Guides from the Texas State Law Library

The Texas State Law Library reference librarians have compiled legal research guides for specific areas of the law. These guides contain resources that can help you research a legal issue. The American Association of Law Libraries has a guide for Non-Lawyers on How to Research a Legal Problem. If you have any questions, please contact us at (512) 463-1722 or at


The information provided on this page has been prepared for general information purposes only and should not be construed as, nor substituted for, legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your fact situation. Your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (1-800-252-9690) can assist you with locating an attorney.

Some of the electronic resources we refer to in this guide may be in PDF format. Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDFs.

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