law-termination-of-parents-right-standard | Termination case law from Houston |


There are several factors that should be taken into account when determining whether termination of parental
rights is in the best interest of the child. In re R.R, 209 S.W.3d 112, 116 (Tex. 2006). These include factors set
forth in section 263.307 of the Family Code that are relevant in the particular case. Tex. Fam. Code § 263.307
(Vernon 2008).[2] In addition, the Texas Supreme Court has promulgated
best-interest factors including (1) the
desires of the child; (2) the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future; (3) the emotional
and physical danger to the child now and in the future; (4) the parental abilities of the parent; (5) the programs
available to assist the parent; (6) the plans for the child by the parent; (7) the stability of the home; (8) the
parent’s acts or omissions that indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and (9)
any excuse for the parent’s acts or omissions. Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367, 372 (Tex. 1976). These
Holley factors are not exhaustive; some of those listed may not apply, while other factors that are not listed may
be appropriate. In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d at 27.
In Interest of R.S. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 1, 2009)(per curiam)
termination of parental rights affirmed)(termination grounds and best interest factors,
ineffective assistance of counsel claim rejected where client did not cooperate)
AFFIRMED: Per Curiam   
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Seymore and Sullivan   
14-08-01013-CV  In the Interest of R.S.   
Appeal from 310th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge:
Lisa A. Millard

The natural relationship between parents and their children is one of constitutional dimension.  In re J.W.T.,
872 S.W.2d 189, 194-95 (Tex. 1994); In re U.P., 105 S.W.3d 222, 229 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2003,
pet. denied).  A parent’s right to “the companionship, care, custody and management” of her children is a
constitutional interest Afar more precious than any property right.”  Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651
(1972);   Holick v. Smith, 685 S.W.2d 18, 20 (Tex. 1985).  Therefore, termination proceedings should be strictly
scrutinized.  Holick, 685 S.W.2d at 20-21; In re U.P., 105 S.W.3d at 229.  However, parental rights are not
absolute, and it is vital that the emotional and physical interests of the children not be sacrificed at the expense
of preserving those rights.  In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 26 (Tex. 2002).
In Interest of JSG, NO. 14-08-00754-CV (Tex.App.- Houston May 7, 2009)(Hedges)
(termination of parental rights,
best interest factors, parental presumption)

To terminate a parent-child relationship, a trial court must find by clear and convincing evidence that (1) the
parent committed one or more acts specifically identified in the Texas Family Code as grounds for termination,
and (2) termination is in the best interest of the child.  See Tex. Fam. Code §161.001; Richardson v. Green,
677 S.W.2d 497, 499 (Tex. 1984).  Clear and convincing evidence is the degree of proof that will produce in
the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of the allegations sought to be proved.  
Tex. Fam. Code §101.007.  There is a strong presumption that the best interest of the child is served by
preserving the parent-child relationship.  Wiley v. Spratlan, 543 S.W.2d 349, 352 (Tex. 1976).  The burden of
proof is upon the party seeking to terminate the parent-child relationship.  See In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d 256, 265-
66 (Tex. 2002).  If the trial court terminated the parent-child relationship on multiple bases under section
161.001(1), we may affirm on any one ground, as only one predicate violation under section 161.001(1) is
necessary to a termination judgment.  In re S.A.P., 169 S.W.3d 685, 695 (Tex. App.-Waco 2005, no pet.); In re
S.F., 32 S.W.3d 318, 320 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2000, no pet.).

A statutory act or omission under section 161.001(1) must be coupled with a finding that termination of the
parent-child relationship is in the
best interest of the child.  In re C.M.C., 273 S.W.3d 862, 876 (Tex. App.-
Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, no pet.).  It is the Department’s burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence
that termination is in the child’s best interest.  In re S.M.L., 171 S.W.3d 472, 480 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.]
2005, no pet.); In re U.P., 105 S.W.3d at 230.
In Interest of JSG, NO. 14-08-00754-CV (Tex.App.- Houston May 7, 2009)(Hedges)
(termination of parental rights,
best interest factors, natural parent preference, parental presumption)