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Parental Rights and Mental Health


The state of Texas places great importance on parental rights. Even after divorce, they would still encourage the interaction and relationship with both parents. However, this does mean that they would not be inclined to remove parental rights for the welfare of the child.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is in charge of ensuring that the health and safety of children in the state are addressed by the parents or guardians. If not, then they would take more drastic action.

When Mental Health is Compromised

The DFPS can intervene when a parent assigned with possession of the child has mental health issues. There are cases when a parent is given limited possession of their child due to mental health issues. That can still be totally removed if the said parent does not take steps to rehabilitation. 

A parent who has been prescribed medication for their mental health may be given limited possession because of their condition. If the parent doesn’t comply with doctor’s orders, she may be deemed as a hazard to her child. 

If a parent lashes out or is hostile to the child, even that limited possession will be taken.

In this case, a DFPS employee will physically remove the child from the mother. If there are also indications that a parent has tendencies towards self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or violent behavior, the DFPS can investigate and take action. 

In these cases, the child will be transferred to relatives of the parent who would be qualified to provide sufficient care for the child. In the absence of those, they could give sole custody to the other parent. If the father is also not capable of providing sufficient care, the DFPS can take the child into foster care until such time when one or both of the parents would be able to address the needs of the child.

Recovering Custody of the Child

If the mother in question eventually rehabilitates herself and shows ample evidence to the Department that she can take care of the child and not be a danger to them, the Department can seek to have a family court judge to create a new, permanent set of orders. While the DFPS can make recommendations, the final decision is still with the judge. 

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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