Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Texas Supreme Court on Parental Rights: In the Interest of E.N.C. et al.

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"A court cannot terminate a person’s parental rights unless the State proves by clear and convincing evidence that the parent engaged in certain proscribed conduct, as specified in the Family Code, and that termination is in the best interest of the children.  In this case, an immigrant convicted in another state of unlawful conduct with a minor and given a probated sentence years before his children were born was later deported to Mexico.  The State relied on these facts in petitioning to terminate this father’s parental rights, yet put on no evidence concerning the offense committed years earlier, nor the circumstances of his deportation.  We are asked to determine whether legally sufficient evidence supports termination of this father’s parental rights under these facts.  We conclude the evidence is legally insufficient and, accordingly, reverse the court of appeals’ judgment in part and