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CHAPTER 161. TERMINATION OF THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

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FAMILY CODETITLE 5. THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP AND THE SUIT AFFECTING THEPARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPSUBTITLE B. SUITS AFFECTING THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPCHAPTER 161. TERMINATION OF THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPSUBCHAPTER A. GROUNDSSec. 161.001.INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION OF PARENT-CHILDRELATIONSHIP.The court may order termination of theparent-child relationship if the court finds by clear andconvincing evidence:(1)that the parent has:(A)voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession ofanother not the parent and expressed an intent not to return;(B)voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession ofanother not the parent without expressing an intent to return,without providing for the adequate support of the child, andremained away for a period of at least three months;(C)voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession ofanother without providing adequate support of the child andremained away for a period of at least six months;(D)knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain inconditions or surroundings which endanger the physical oremotional well-being of the child;(E)engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child withpersons who engaged in conduct which endangers the physical oremotional well-being of the child;(F)failed to support the child in accordance with the parent'sability during a period of one year ending within six months ofthe date of the filing of the petition;(G)abandoned the child without identifying the child orfurnishing means of identification, and the child's identitycannot be ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence;(H)voluntarily, and with knowledge of the pregnancy, abandonedthe mother of the child beginning at a time during her pregnancywith the child and continuing through the birth, failed toprovide adequate support or medical care for the mother duringthe period of abandonment before the birth of the child, andremained apart from the child or failed to support the childsince the birth;(I)contumaciously refused to submit to a reasonable and lawfulorder of a court under Subchapter D, Chapter 261;(J)been the major cause of:(i)the failure of the child to be enrolled in school asrequired by the Education Code; or(ii)the child's absence from the child's home without theconsent of the parents or guardian for a substantial length oftime or without the intent to return;(K)executed before or after the suit is filed an unrevoked orirrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights asprovided by this chapter;(L)been convicted or has been placed on community supervision,including deferred adjudication community supervision, for beingcriminally responsible for the death or serious injury of a childunder the following sections of the Penal Code or adjudicatedunder Title 3 for conduct that caused the death or serious injuryof a child and that would constitute a violation of one of thefollowing Penal Code sections:(i)Section 19.02 (murder);(ii)Section 19.03 (capital murder);(iii)Section 19.04 (manslaughter);(iv)Section 21.11 (indecency with a child);(v)Section 22.01 (assault);(vi)Section 22.011 (sexual assault);(vii)Section 22.02 (aggravated assault);(viii)Section 22.021 (aggravated sexual assault);(ix)Section 22.04 (injury to a child, elderly individual, ordisabled individual);(x)Section 22.041 (abandoning or endangering child);(xi)Section 25.02 (prohibited sexual conduct);(xii)Section 43.25 (sexual performance by a child);(xiii)Section 43.26 (possession or promotion of childpornography); and(xiv)Section 21.02 (continuous sexual abuse of young child orchildren);(M)had his or her parent-child relationship terminated withrespect to another child based on a finding that the parent'sconduct was in violation of Paragraph (D) or (E) or substantiallyequivalent provisions of the law of another state;(N)constructively abandoned the child who has been in thepermanent or temporary managing conservatorship of the Departmentof Family and Protective Services or an authorized agency for notless than six months, and:(i)the department or authorized agency has made reasonableefforts to return the child to the parent;(ii)the parent has not regularly visited or maintainedsignificant contact with the child; and(iii)the parent has demonstrated an inability to provide thechild with a safe environment;(O)failed to comply with the provisions of a court order thatspecifically established the actions necessary for the parent toobtain the return of the child who has been in the permanent ortemporary managing conservatorship of the Department of Familyand Protective Services for not less than nine months as a resultof the child's removal from the parent under Chapter 262 for theabuse or neglect of the child;(P)used a controlled substance, as defined by Chapter 481,Health and Safety Code, in a manner that endangered the health orsafety of the child, and:(i)failed to complete a court-ordered substance abuse treatmentprogram; or(ii)after completion of a court-ordered substance abusetreatment program, continued to abuse a controlled substance;(Q)knowingly engaged in criminal conduct that has resulted inthe parent's:(i)conviction of an offense; and(ii)confinement or imprisonment and inability to care for thechild for not less than two years from the date of filing thepetition;(R)been the cause of the child being born addicted to alcoholor a controlled substance, other than a controlled substancelegally obtained by prescription, as defined by Section 261.001;(S)voluntarily delivered the child to a designated emergencyinfant care provider under Section 262.302 without expressing anintent to return for the child; or(T)been convicted of:(i)the murder of the other parent of the child under Section19.02 or 19.03, Penal Code, or under a law of another state,federal law, the law of a foreign country, or the Uniform Code ofMilitary Justice that contains elements that are substantiallysimilar to the elements of an offense under Section 19.02 or19.03, Penal Code;(ii)criminal attempt under Section 15.01, Penal Code, or undera law of another state, federal law, the law of a foreigncountry, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice that containselements that are substantially similar to the elements of anoffense under Section 15.01, Penal Code, to commit the offensedescribed by Subparagraph (i); or(iii)criminal solicitation under Section 15.03, Penal Code, orunder a law of another state, federal law, the law of a foreigncountry, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice that containselements that are substantially similar to the elements of anoffense under Section 15.03, Penal Code, of the offense describedby Subparagraph (i); and(2)that termination is in the best interest of the child.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 709, Sec. 1, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 65, eff. Sept.1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 575, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1,1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 60, eff. Sept. 1,1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1087, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999;Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts2001, 77th Leg., ch. 809, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.Amended by:Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.508, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.593, Sec. 3.30, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.86, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.Sec. 161.002.TERMINATION OF THE RIGHTS OF AN ALLEGED BIOLOGICALFATHER.(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, theprocedural and substantive standards for termination of parentalrights apply to the termination of the rights of an allegedfather.(b)The rights of an alleged father may be terminated if:(1)after being served with citation, he does not respond bytimely filing an admission of paternity or a counterclaim forpaternity under Chapter 160;(2)the child is over one year of age at the time the petitionfor termination of the parent-child relationship or for adoptionis filed, he has not registered with the paternity registry underChapter 160, and after the exercise of due diligence by thepetitioner:(A)his identity and location are unknown; or(B)his identity is known but he cannot be located;(3)the child is under one year of age at the time the petitionfor termination of the parent-child relationship or for adoptionis filed and he has not registered with the paternity registryunder Chapter 160; or(4)he has registered with the paternity registry under Chapter160, but the petitioner's attempt to personally serve citation atthe address provided to the registry and at any other address forthe alleged father known by the petitioner has been unsuccessful,despite the due diligence of the petitioner.(c)The termination of the rights of an alleged father underSubsection (b)(2) rendered on or after January 1, 1998, andbefore January 1, 2008, does not require personal service ofcitation or citation by publication on the alleged father.(c-1)The termination of the rights of an alleged father underSubsection (b)(2) or (3) rendered on or after January 1, 2008,does not require personal service of citation or citation bypublication on the alleged father, and there is no requirement toidentify or locate an alleged father who has not registered withthe paternity registry under Chapter 160.(d)The termination of rights of an alleged father underSubsection (b)(4) does not require service of citation bypublication on the alleged father.(e)The court shall not render an order terminating parentalrights under Subsection (b)(2) or (3) unless the court receivesevidence of a certificate of the results of a search of thepaternity registry under Chapter 160 from the bureau of vitalstatistics indicating that no man has registered the intent toclaim paternity.(f)The court shall not render an order terminating parentalrights under Subsection (b)(4) unless the court, after reviewingthe petitioner's sworn affidavit describing the petitioner'seffort to obtain personal service of citation on the allegedfather and considering any evidence submitted by the attorney adlitem for the alleged father, has found that the petitionerexercised due diligence in attempting to obtain service on thealleged father.The order shall contain specific findingsregarding the exercise of due diligence of the petitioner.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 66, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 7, eff. Sept.1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, Sec. 2.16, eff. June 14,2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1283, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 161.003.INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION: INABILITY TO CARE FORCHILD.(a)The court may order termination of the parent-childrelationship in a suit filed by the Department of Protective andRegulatory Services if the court finds that:(1)the parent has a mental or emotional illness or a mentaldeficiency that renders the parent unable to provide for thephysical, emotional, and mental needs of the child;(2)the illness or deficiency, in all reasonable probability,proved by clear and convincing evidence, will continue to renderthe parent unable to provide for the child's needs until the 18thbirthday of the child;(3)the department has been the temporary or sole managingconservator of the child of the parent for at least six monthspreceding the date of the hearing on the termination held inaccordance with Subsection (c);(4)the department has made reasonable efforts to return thechild to the parent; and(5)the termination is in the best interest of the child.(b)Immediately after the filing of a suit under this section,the court shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent theinterests of the parent against whom the suit is brought.(c)A hearing on the termination may not be held earlier than180 days after the date on which the suit was filed.(d)An attorney appointed under Subsection (b) shall representthe parent for the duration of the suit unless the parent, withthe permission of the court, retains another attorney.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 67, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 496, Sec. 1, eff. Sept.1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,2001.Sec. 161.004.TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS AFTER DENIAL OFPRIOR PETITION TO TERMINATE.(a)The court may terminate theparent-child relationship after rendition of an order thatpreviously denied termination of the parent-child relationshipif:(1)the petition under this section is filed after the date theorder denying termination was rendered;(2)the circumstances of the child, parent, sole managingconservator, possessory conservator, or other party affected bythe order denying termination have materially and substantiallychanged since the date that the order was rendered;(3)the parent committed an act listed under Section 161.001before the date the order denying termination was rendered; and(4)termination is in the best interest of the child.(b)At a hearing under this section, the court may considerevidence presented at a previous hearing in a suit fortermination of the parent-child relationship of the parent withrespect to the same child.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 161.005.TERMINATION WHEN PARENT IS PETITIONER.(a)Aparent may file a suit for termination of the petitioner'sparent-child relationship. The court may order termination iftermination is in the best interest of the child.(b)If the petition designates the Department of Protective andRegulatory Services as managing conservator, the department shallbe given service of citation. The court shall notify thedepartment if the court appoints the department as the managingconservator of the child.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 68, eff.Sept. 1, 1995.Sec. 161.006.TERMINATION AFTER ABORTION.(a)A petitionrequesting termination of the parent-child relationship withrespect to a parent who is not the petitioner may be granted ifthe child was born alive as the result of an abortion.(b)In this code, "abortion" means an intentional expulsion of ahuman fetus from the body of a woman induced by any means for thepurpose of causing the death of the fetus.(c)The court or the jury may not terminate the parent-childrelationship under this section with respect to a parent who:(1)had no knowledge of the abortion; or(2)participated in or consented to the abortion for the solepurpose of preventing the death of the mother.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 161.007.TERMINATION WHEN PREGNANCY RESULTS FROM CRIMINALACT.The court may order the termination of the parent-childrelationship of a parent and a child if the court finds that:(1)the parent has been convicted of an offense committed underSection 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code;(2)as a direct result of the commission of the offense by theparent, the victim of the offense became pregnant with theparent's child; and(3)termination is in the best interest of the child.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1,1997.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.593, Sec. 3.31, eff. September 1, 2007.SUBCHAPTER B. PROCEDURESSec. 161.101.PETITION ALLEGATIONS.A petition for thetermination of the parent-child relationship is sufficientwithout the necessity of specifying the underlying facts if thepetition alleges in the statutory language the ground for thetermination and that termination is in the best interest of thechild.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 161.102.FILING SUIT FOR TERMINATION BEFORE BIRTH.(a)Asuit for termination may be filed before the birth of the child.(b)If the suit is filed before the birth of the child, thepetition shall be styled "In the Interest of an Unborn Child."After the birth, the clerk shall change the style of the case toconform to the requirements of Section 102.008.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 161.103.AFFIDAVIT OF VOLUNTARY RELINQUISHMENT OF PARENTALRIGHTS.(a)An affidavit for voluntary relinquishment ofparental rights must be:(1)signed after the birth of the child, but not before 48 hoursafter the birth of the child, by the parent, whether or not aminor, whose parental rights are to be relinquished;(2)witnessed by two credible persons; and(3)verified before a person authorized to take oaths.(b)The affidavit must contain:(1)the name, county of residence, and age of the parent whoseparental rights are being relinquished;(2)the name, age, and birth date of the child;(3)the names and addresses of the guardians of the person andestate of the child, if any;(4)a statement that the affiant is or is not presentlyobligated by court order to make payments for the support of thechild;(5)a full description and statement of value of all propertyowned or possessed by the child;(6)an allegation that termination of the parent-childrelationship is in the best interest of the child;(7)one of the following, as applicable:(A)the name and county of residence of the other parent;(B)a statement that the parental rights of the other parenthave been terminated by death or court order;or(C)a statement that the child has no presumed father;(8)a statement that the parent has been informed of parentalrights and duties;(9)a statement that the relinquishment is revocable, that therelinquishment is irrevocable, or that the relinquishment isirrevocable for a stated period of time;(10)if the relinquishment is revocable, a statement inboldfaced type concerning the right of the parent signing theaffidavit to revoke the relinquishment only if the revocation ismade before the 11th day after the date the affidavit isexecuted;(11)if the relinquishment is revocable, the name and address ofa person to whom the revocation is to be delivered;and(12)the designation of a prospective adoptive parent, theDepartment of Family and Protective Services, if the departmenthas consented in writing to the designation, or a licensedchild-placing agency to serve as managing conservator of thechild and the address of the person or agency.(c)The affidavit may contain:(1)a waiver of process in a suit to terminate the parent-childrelationship filed under this chapter or in a suit to terminatejoined with a petition for adoption; and(2)a consent to the placement of the child for adoption by theDepartment of Protective and Regulatory Services or by a licensedchild-placing agency.(d)A copy of the affidavit shall be provided to the parent atthe time the parent signs the affidavit.(e)The relinquishment in an affidavit that designates theDepartment of Protective and Regulatory Services or a licensedchild-placing agency to serve as the managing conservator isirrevocable. A relinquishment in any other affidavit ofrelinquishment is revocable unless it expressly provides that itis irrevocable for a stated period of time not to exceed 60 daysafter the date of its execution.(f)A relinquishment in an affidavit of relinquishment ofparental rights that fails to state that the relinquishment isirrevocable for a stated time is revocable as provided by Section161.1035.(g)To revoke a relinquishment under Subsection (e) the parentmust sign a statement witnessed by two credible persons andverified before a person authorized to take oaths. A copy of therevocation shall be delivered to the person designated in theaffidavit. If a parent attempting to revoke a relinquishmentunder this subsection has knowledge that a suit for terminationof the parent-child relationship has been filed based on theparent's affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights, theparent shall file a copy of the revocation with the clerk of thecourt.(h)The affidavit may not contain terms for limitedpost-termination contact between the child and the parent whoseparental rights are to be relinquished as a condition of therelinquishment of parental rights.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 69, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 9, eff. Sept.1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1,2003.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1283, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1412, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 161.1031.MEDICAL HISTORY REPORT.(a)A parent who signsan affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights underSection 161.103 regarding a biological child must also prepare amedical history report that addresses the medical history of theparent and the parent's ancestors.(b)The Department of Family and Protective Services, incooperation with the Department of State Health Services, shalladopt a form that a parent may use to comply with this section.The form must be designed to permit a parent to identify anymedical condition of the parent or the parent's ancestors thatcould indicate a predisposition for the child to develop thecondition.(c)The medical history report shall be used in preparing thehealth, social, educational, and genetic history report requiredby Section 162.005 and shall be made available to persons grantedaccess under Section 162.006 in the manner provided by thatsection.Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.1258, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.Sec. 161.1035.REVOCABILITY OF CERTAIN AFFIDAVITS.An affidavitof relinquishment of parental rights that fails to state that therelinquishment or waiver is irrevocable for a stated time is:(1)revocable only if the revocation is made before the 11th dayafter the date the affidavit is executed; and(2)irrevocable on or after the 11th day after the date theaffidavit is executed.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1,1997.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1283, Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 161.104.RIGHTS OF DESIGNATED MANAGING CONSERVATOR PENDINGCOURT APPOINTMENT.A person, licensed child-placing agency, orauthorized agency designated managing conservator of a child inan irrevocable or unrevoked affidavit of relinquishment has aright to possession of the child superior to the right of theperson executing the affidavit, the right to consent to medical,surgical, dental, and psychological treatment of the child, andthe rights and duties given by Chapter 153 to a possessoryconservator until such time as these rights and duties aremodified or terminated by court order.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 70, eff.Sept. 1, 1995.Sec. 161.106.AFFIDAVIT OF WAIVER OF INTEREST IN CHILD.(a)Aman may sign an affidavit disclaiming any interest in a child andwaiving notice or the service of citation in any suit filed or tobe filed affecting the parent-child relationship with respect tothe child.(b)The affidavit may be signed before the birth of the child.(c)The affidavit shall be:(1)signed by the man, whether or not a minor;(2)witnessed by two credible persons; and(3)verified before a person authorized to take oaths.(d)The affidavit may contain a statement that the affiant doesnot admit being the father of the child or having had a sexualrelationship with the mother of the child.(e)An affidavit of waiver of interest in a child may be used ina suit in which the affiant attempts to establish an interest inthe child. The affidavit may not be used in a suit brought byanother person, licensed child-placing agency, or authorizedagency to establish the affiant's paternity of the child.(f)A waiver in an affidavit under this section is irrevocable.(g)Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1283, Sec. 13,eff. September 1, 2007.(h)Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1283, Sec. 13,eff. September 1, 2007.(i)A copy of the affidavit shall be provided to the person whoexecuted the affidavit at the time the person signs theaffidavit.(j)Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1283, Sec. 13,eff. September 1, 2007.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 11, eff.Sept. 1, 1997.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1283, Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1283, Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 161.107.MISSING PARENT OR RELATIVE.(a)In this section:(1)"Parent" means a parent, as defined by Section 160.102,whose parent-child relationship with a child has not beenterminated.The term does not include a man who does not have aparent-child relationship established under Chapter 160.(2)"Relative" means a parent, grandparent, or adult sibling orchild.(b)If a parent of the child has not been personally served in asuit in which the Department of Family and Protective Servicesseeks termination, the department must make a diligent effort tolocate that parent.(c)If a parent has not been personally served and cannot belocated, the department shall make a diligent effort to locate arelative of the missing parent to give the relative anopportunity to request appointment as the child's managingconservator.(d)If the department is not able to locate a missing parent ora relative of that parent and sufficient information is availableconcerning the physical whereabouts of the parent or relative,the department shall request the state agency designated toadminister a statewide plan for child support to use the parentallocator service established under 42 U.S.C. Section 653 todetermine the location of the missing parent or relative.(e)The department shall be required to provide evidence to thecourt to show what actions were taken by the department in makinga diligent effort to locate the missing parent and relative ofthe missing parent.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 71, eff.Sept. 1, 1995.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1283, Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1283, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 161.108.RELEASE OF CHILD FROM HOSPITAL OR BIRTHING CENTER.(a)Before or at the time an affidavit of relinquishment ofparental rights under Section 161.103 is executed, the mother ofa newborn child may authorize the release of the child from thehospital or birthing center to a licensed child-placing agency,the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, or anotherdesignated person.(b)A release under this section must be:(1)executed in writing;(2)witnessed by two credible adults; and(3)verified before a person authorized to take oaths.(c)A hospital or birthing center shall comply with the terms ofa release executed under this section without requiring a courtorder.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1,1997.Sec. 161.109.REQUIREMENT OF PATERNITY REGISTRY CERTIFICATE.(a)If a parent-child relationship does not exist between thechild and any man, a certificate from the bureau of vitalstatistics signed by the registrar that a diligent search hasbeen made of the paternity registry maintained by the bureau andthat a registration has not been found pertaining to the fatherof the child in question must be filed with the court before atrial on the merits in the suit for termination may be held.(b)In a proceeding to terminate parental rights in which thealleged or probable father has not been personally served withcitation or signed an affidavit of relinquishment or an affidavitof waiver of interest, the court may not terminate the parentalrights of the alleged or probable father, whether known orunknown, unless a certificate from the bureau of vital statisticssigned by the registrar states that a diligent search has beenmade of the paternity registry maintained by the bureau and thata filing or registration has not been found pertaining to thefather of the child in question.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1,1997.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.1283, Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2007.SUBCHAPTER C. HEARING AND ORDERSec. 161.2011.CONTINUANCE; ACCESS TO CHILD.(a)A parentwhose rights are subject to termination in a suit affecting theparent-child relationship and against whom criminal charges arefiled that directly relate to the grounds for which terminationis sought may file a motion requesting a continuance of the finaltrial in the suit until the criminal charges are resolved. Thecourt may grant the motion only if the court finds that acontinuance is in the best interest of the child. Notwithstandingany continuance granted, the court shall conduct status andpermanency hearings with respect to the child as required byChapter 263 and shall comply with the dismissal date underSection 263.401.(b)Nothing in this section precludes the court from issuingappropriate temporary orders as authorized in this code.(c)The court in which a suit to terminate the parent-childrelationship is pending may render an order denying a parentaccess to a child if the parent is indicted for criminal activitythat constitutes a ground for terminating the parent-childrelationship under Section 161.001. The denial of access underthis section shall continue until the date the criminal chargesfor which the parent was indicted are resolved and the courtrenders an order providing for access to the child by the parent.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 61, eff. Sept. 1,1997. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 3, eff.Sept. 1, 2001.Sec. 161.202.PREFERENTIAL SETTING.In a termination suit,after a hearing, the court shall grant a motion for apreferential setting for a final hearing on the merits filed by aparty to the suit or by the amicus attorney or attorney ad litemfor the child and shall give precedence to that hearing overother civil cases if:(1)termination would make the child eligible for adoption; and(2)discovery has been completed or sufficient time has elapsedsince the filing of the suit for the completion of all necessaryand reasonable discovery if diligently pursued.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 133, Sec. 5, eff.Sept. 1, 2001.Amended by:Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.172, Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2005.Sec. 161.2021.MEDICAL HISTORY REPORT.(a)In a terminationsuit, the court shall order each parent before the court toprovide information regarding the medical history of the parentand the parent's ancestors.(b)A parent may comply with the court's order under thissection by completing the medical history report form adopted bythe Department of Family and Protective Services under Section161.1031.(c)If the Department of Family and Protective Services is aparty to the termination suit, the information provided underthis section must be maintained in the department recordsrelating to the child and made available to persons with whom thechild is placed.Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.1258, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.Sec. 161.203.DISMISSAL OF PETITION.A suit to terminate maynot be dismissed nor may a nonsuit be taken unless the dismissalor nonsuit is approved by the court. The dismissal or nonsuitapproved by the court is without prejudice.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 4, eff.Sept. 1, 2001.Sec. 161.204.TERMINATION BASED ON AFFIDAVIT OF WAIVER OFINTEREST.In a suit for termination, the court may render anorder terminating the parent-child relationship between a childand a man who has signed an affidavit of waiver of interest inthe child, if the termination is in the best interest of thechild.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 5, eff.Sept. 1, 2001.Sec. 161.205.ORDER DENYING TERMINATION.If the court does notorder termination of the parent-child relationship, the courtshall:(1)deny the petition; or(2)render any order in the best interest of the child.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 6, eff.Sept. 1, 2001.Sec. 161.206.ORDER TERMINATING PARENTAL RIGHTS.(a)If thecourt finds by clear and convincing evidence grounds fortermination of the parent-child relationship, it shall render anorder terminating the parent-child relationship.(b)Except as provided by Section 161.2061, an order terminatingthe parent-child relationship divests the parent and the child ofall legal rights and duties with respect to each other, exceptthat the child retains the right to inherit from and through theparent unless the court otherwise provides.(c)Nothing in this chapter precludes or affects the rights of abiological or adoptive maternal or paternal grandparent toreasonable access under Chapter 153.(d)An order rendered under this section must include a findingthat:(1)a request for identification of a court of continuing,exclusive jurisdiction has been made as required by Section155.101; and(2)all parties entitled to notice, including the Title IV-Dagency, have been notified.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 709, Sec. 2, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 72, eff. Sept.1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,2003.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.972, Sec. 44, eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 161.2061.TERMS REGARDING LIMITED POST-TERMINATION CONTACT.(a)If the court finds it to be in the best interest of thechild, the court may provide in an order terminating theparent-child relationship that the biological parent who filed anaffidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights underSection 161.103 shall have limited post-termination contact withthe child as provided by Subsection (b) on the agreement of thebiological parent and the Department of Protective and RegulatoryServices.(b)The order of termination may include terms that allow thebiological parent to:(1)receive specified information regarding the child;(2)provide written communications to the child; and(3)have limited access to the child.(c)The terms of an order of termination regarding limitedpost-termination contact may be enforced only if the partyseeking enforcement pleads and proves that, before filing themotion for enforcement, the party attempted in good faith toresolve the disputed matters through mediation.(d)The terms of an order of termination under this section arenot enforceable by contempt.(e)The terms of an order of termination regarding limitedpost-termination contact may not be modified.(f)An order under this section does not:(1)affect the finality of a termination order; or(2)grant standing to a parent whose parental rights have beenterminated to file any action under this title other than amotion to enforce the terms regarding limited post-terminationcontact until the court renders a subsequent adoption order withrespect to the child.Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,2003.Sec. 161.2062.PROVISION FOR LIMITED CONTACT BETWEEN BIOLOGICALPARENT AND CHILD.(a)An order terminating the parent-childrelationship may not require that a subsequent adoption orderinclude terms regarding limited post-termination contact betweenthe child and a biological parent.(b)The inclusion of a requirement for post-termination contactdescribed by Subsection (a) in a termination order does not:(1)affect the finality of a termination or subsequent adoptionorder; or(2)grant standing to a parent whose parental rights have beenterminated to file any action under this title after the courtrenders a subsequent adoption order with respect to the child.Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,2003.Sec. 161.207.APPOINTMENT OF MANAGING CONSERVATOR ONTERMINATION.(a)If the court terminates the parent-childrelationship with respect to both parents or to the only livingparent, the court shall appoint a suitable, competent adult, theDepartment of Protective and Regulatory Services, a licensedchild-placing agency, or an authorized agency as managingconservator of the child. An agency designated managingconservator in an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit ofrelinquishment shall be appointed managing conservator.(b)The order of appointment may refer to the docket number ofthe suit and need not refer to the parties nor be accompanied byany other papers in the record.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 161.208.APPOINTMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF PROTECTIVE ANDREGULATORY SERVICES AS MANAGING CONSERVATOR.If a parent of thechild has not been personally served in a suit in which theDepartment of Protective and Regulatory Services seekstermination, the court that terminates a parent-childrelationship may not appoint the Department of Protective andRegulatory Services as permanent managing conservator of thechild unless the court determines that:(1)the department has made a diligent effort to locate amissing parent who has not been personally served and a relativeof that parent; and(2)a relative located by the department has had a reasonableopportunity to request appointment as managing conservator of thechild or the department has not been able to locate the missingparent or a relative of the missing parent.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 161.209.COPY OF ORDER OF TERMINATION.A copy of an orderof termination rendered under Section 161.206 is not required tobe mailed to parties as provided by Rules 119a and 239a, TexasRules of Civil Procedure.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 161.210.SEALING OF FILE.The court, on the motion of aparty or on the court's own motion, may order the sealing of thefile, the minutes of the court, or both, in a suit fortermination.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 161.211.DIRECT OR COLLATERAL ATTACK ON TERMINATION ORDER.(a)Notwithstanding Rule 329, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure,the validity of an order terminating the parental rights of aperson who has been personally served or who has executed anaffidavit of relinquishment of parental rights or an affidavit ofwaiver of interest in a child or whose rights have beenterminated under Section 161.002(b) is not subject to collateralor direct attack after the sixth month after the date the orderwas signed.(b)Notwithstanding Rule 329, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure,the validity of an order terminating the parental rights of aperson who is served by citation by publication is not subject tocollateral or direct attack after the sixth month after the datethe order was signed.(c)A direct or collateral attack on an order terminatingparental rights based on an unrevoked affidavit of relinquishmentof parental rights or affidavit of waiver of interest in a childis limited to issues relating to fraud, duress, or coercion inthe execution of the affidavit.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 601, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1,1999.
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  • FAMILY CODE

    TITLE 5. THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP AND THE SUIT AFFECTING THE

    PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

    SUBTITLE B. SUITS AFFECTING THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

    CHAPTER 161. TERMINATION OF THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

    SUBCHAPTER A. GROUNDS

    Sec. 161.001. INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION OF PARENT-CHILD

    RELATIONSHIP. The court may order termination of the

    parent-child relationship if the court finds by clear and

    convincing evidence:

    (1) that the parent has:

    (A) voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of

    another not the parent and expressed an intent not to return;

    (B) voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of

    another not the parent without expressing an intent to return,

    without providing for the adequate support of the child, and

    remained away for a period of at least three months;

    (C) voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of

    another without providing adequate support of the child and

    remained away for a period of at least six months;

    (D) knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain in

    conditions or surroundings which endanger the physical or

    emotional well-being of the child;

    (E) engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with

    persons who engaged in conduct which endangers the physical or

    emotional well-being of the child;

    (F) failed to support the child in accordance with the parent's

    ability during a period of one year ending within six months of

    the date of the filing of the petition;

    (G) abandoned the child without identifying the child or

    furnishing means of identification, and the child's identity

    cannot be ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence;

    (H) voluntarily, and with knowledge of the pregnancy, abandoned

    the mother of the child beginning at a time during her pregnancy

    with the child and continuing through the birth, failed to

    provide adequate support or medical care for the mother during

    the period of abandonment before the birth of the child, and

    remained apart from the child or failed to support the child

    since the birth;

    (I) contumaciously refused to submit to a reasonable and lawful

    order of a court under Subchapter D, Chapter 261;

    (J) been the major cause of:

    (i) the failure of the child to be enrolled in school as

    required by the Education Code; or

    (ii) the child's absence from the child's home without the

    consent of the parents or guardian for a substantial length of

    time or without the intent to return;

    (K) executed before or after the suit is filed an unrevoked or

    irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights as

    provided by this chapter;

    (L) been convicted or has been placed on community supervision,

    including deferred adjudication community supervision, for being

    criminally responsible for the death or serious injury of a child

    under the following sections of the Penal Code or adjudicated

    under Title 3 for conduct that caused the death or serious injury

    of a child and that would constitute a violation of one of the

    following Penal Code sections:

    (i) Section 19.02 (murder);

    (ii) Section 19.03 (capital murder);

    (iii) Section 19.04 (manslaughter);

    (iv) Section 21.11 (indecency with a child);

    (v) Section 22.01 (assault);

    (vi) Section 22.011 (sexual assault);

    (vii) Section 22.02 (aggravated assault);

    (viii) Section 22.021 (aggravated sexual assault);

    (ix) Section 22.04 (injury to a child, elderly individual, or

    disabled individual);

    (x) Section 22.041 (abandoning or endangering child);

    (xi) Section 25.02 (prohibited sexual conduct);

    (xii) Section 43.25 (sexual performance by a child);

    (xiii) Section 43.26 (possession or promotion of child

    pornography); and

    (xiv) Section 21.02 (continuous sexual abuse of young child or

    children);

    (M) had his or her parent-child relationship terminated with

    respect to another child based on a finding that the parent's

    conduct was in violation of Paragraph (D) or (E) or substantially

    equivalent provisions of the law of another state;

    (N) constructively abandoned the child who has been in the

    permanent or temporary managing conservatorship of the Department

    of Family and Protective Services or an authorized agency for not

    less than six months, and:

    (i) the department or authorized agency has made reasonable

    efforts to return the child to the parent;

    (ii) the parent has not regularly visited or maintained

    significant contact with the child; and

    (iii) the parent has demonstrated an inability to provide the

    child with a safe environment;

    (O) failed to comply with the provisions of a court order that

    specifically established the actions necessary for the parent to

    obtain the return of the child who has been in the permanent or

    temporary managing conservatorship of the Department of Family

    and Protective Services for not less than nine months as a result

    of the child's removal from the parent under Chapter 262 for the

    abuse or neglect of the child;

    (P) used a controlled substance, as defined by Chapter 481,

    Health and Safety Code, in a manner that endangered the health or

    safety of the child, and:

    (i) failed to complete a court-ordered substance abuse treatment

    program; or

    (ii) after completion of a court-ordered substance abuse

    treatment program, continued to abuse a controlled substance;

    (Q) knowingly engaged in criminal conduct that has resulted in

    the parent's:

    (i) conviction of an offense; and

    (ii) confinement or imprisonment and inability to care for the

    child for not less than two years from the date of filing the

    petition;

    (R) been the cause of the child being born addicted to alcohol

    or a controlled substance, other than a controlled substance

    legally obtained by prescription, as defined by Section 261.001;

    (S) voluntarily delivered the child to a designated emergency

    infant care provider under Section 262.302 without expressing an

    intent to return for the child; or

    (T) been convicted of:

    (i) the murder of the other parent of the child under Section

    19.02 or 19.03, Penal Code, or under a law of another state,

    federal law, the law of a foreign country, or the Uniform Code of

    Military Justice that contains elements that are substantially

    similar to the elements of an offense under Section 19.02 or

    19.03, Penal Code;

    (ii) criminal attempt under Section 15.01, Penal Code, or under

    a law of another state, federal law, the law of a foreign

    country, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice that contains

    elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an

    offense under Section 15.01, Penal Code, to commit the offense

    described by Subparagraph (i); or

    (iii) criminal solicitation under Section 15.03, Penal Code, or

    under a law of another state, federal law, the law of a foreign

    country, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice that contains

    elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an

    offense under Section 15.03, Penal Code, of the offense described

    by Subparagraph (i); and

    (2) that termination is in the best interest of the child.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 709, Sec. 1, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 65, eff. Sept.

    1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 575, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 60, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1087, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999;

    Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts

    2001, 77th Leg., ch. 809, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.

    508, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    593, Sec. 3.30, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

    86, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

    Sec. 161.002. TERMINATION OF THE RIGHTS OF AN ALLEGED BIOLOGICAL

    FATHER. (a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, the

    procedural and substantive standards for termination of parental

    rights apply to the termination of the rights of an alleged

    father.

    (b) The rights of an alleged father may be terminated if:

    (1) after being served with citation, he does not respond by

    timely filing an admission of paternity or a counterclaim for

    paternity under Chapter 160;

    (2) the child is over one year of age at the time the petition

    for termination of the parent-child relationship or for adoption

    is filed, he has not registered with the paternity registry under

    Chapter 160, and after the exercise of due diligence by the

    petitioner:

    (A) his identity and location are unknown; or

    (B) his identity is known but he cannot be located;

    (3) the child is under one year of age at the time the petition

    for termination of the parent-child relationship or for adoption

    is filed and he has not registered with the paternity registry

    under Chapter 160; or

    (4) he has registered with the paternity registry under Chapter

    160, but the petitioner's attempt to personally serve citation at

    the address provided to the registry and at any other address for

    the alleged father known by the petitioner has been unsuccessful,

    despite the due diligence of the petitioner.

    (c) The termination of the rights of an alleged father under

    Subsection (b)(2) rendered on or after January 1, 1998, and

    before January 1, 2008, does not require personal service of

    citation or citation by publication on the alleged father.

    (c-1) The termination of the rights of an alleged father under

    Subsection (b)(2) or (3) rendered on or after January 1, 2008,

    does not require personal service of citation or citation by

    publication on the alleged father, and there is no requirement to

    identify or locate an alleged father who has not registered with

    the paternity registry under Chapter 160.

    (d) The termination of rights of an alleged father under

    Subsection (b)(4) does not require service of citation by

    publication on the alleged father.

    (e) The court shall not render an order terminating parental

    rights under Subsection (b)(2) or (3) unless the court receives

    evidence of a certificate of the results of a search of the

    paternity registry under Chapter 160 from the bureau of vital

    statistics indicating that no man has registered the intent to

    claim paternity.

    (f) The court shall not render an order terminating parental

    rights under Subsection (b)(4) unless the court, after reviewing

    the petitioner's sworn affidavit describing the petitioner's

    effort to obtain personal service of citation on the alleged

    father and considering any evidence submitted by the attorney ad

    litem for the alleged father, has found that the petitioner

    exercised due diligence in attempting to obtain service on the

    alleged father. The order shall contain specific findings

    regarding the exercise of due diligence of the petitioner.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 66, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 7, eff. Sept.

    1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, Sec. 2.16, eff. June 14,

    2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1283, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 161.003. INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION: INABILITY TO CARE FOR

    CHILD. (a) The court may order termination of the parent-child

    relationship in a suit filed by the Department of Protective and

    Regulatory Services if the court finds that:

    (1) the parent has a mental or emotional illness or a mental

    deficiency that renders the parent unable to provide for the

    physical, emotional, and mental needs of the child;

    (2) the illness or deficiency, in all reasonable probability,

    proved by clear and convincing evidence, will continue to render

    the parent unable to provide for the child's needs until the 18th

    birthday of the child;

    (3) the department has been the temporary or sole managing

    conservator of the child of the parent for at least six months

    preceding the date of the hearing on the termination held in

    accordance with Subsection (c);

    (4) the department has made reasonable efforts to return the

    child to the parent; and

    (5) the termination is in the best interest of the child.

    (b) Immediately after the filing of a suit under this section,

    the court shall appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the

    interests of the parent against whom the suit is brought.

    (c) A hearing on the termination may not be held earlier than

    180 days after the date on which the suit was filed.

    (d) An attorney appointed under Subsection (b) shall represent

    the parent for the duration of the suit unless the parent, with

    the permission of the court, retains another attorney.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 67, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 496, Sec. 1, eff. Sept.

    1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,

    2001.

    Sec. 161.004. TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS AFTER DENIAL OF

    PRIOR PETITION TO TERMINATE. (a) The court may terminate the

    parent-child relationship after rendition of an order that

    previously denied termination of the parent-child relationship

    if:

    (1) the petition under this section is filed after the date the

    order denying termination was rendered;

    (2) the circumstances of the child, parent, sole managing

    conservator, possessory conservator, or other party affected by

    the order denying termination have materially and substantially

    changed since the date that the order was rendered;

    (3) the parent committed an act listed under Section 161.001

    before the date the order denying termination was rendered; and

    (4) termination is in the best interest of the child.

    (b) At a hearing under this section, the court may consider

    evidence presented at a previous hearing in a suit for

    termination of the parent-child relationship of the parent with

    respect to the same child.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 161.005. TERMINATION WHEN PARENT IS PETITIONER. (a) A

    parent may file a suit for termination of the petitioner's

    parent-child relationship. The court may order termination if

    termination is in the best interest of the child.

    (b) If the petition designates the Department of Protective and

    Regulatory Services as managing conservator, the department shall

    be given service of citation. The court shall notify the

    department if the court appoints the department as the managing

    conservator of the child.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 68, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995.

    Sec. 161.006. TERMINATION AFTER ABORTION. (a) A petition

    requesting termination of the parent-child relationship with

    respect to a parent who is not the petitioner may be granted if

    the child was born alive as the result of an abortion.

    (b) In this code, "abortion" means an intentional expulsion of a

    human fetus from the body of a woman induced by any means for the

    purpose of causing the death of the fetus.

    (c) The court or the jury may not terminate the parent-child

    relationship under this section with respect to a parent who:

    (1) had no knowledge of the abortion; or

    (2) participated in or consented to the abortion for the sole

    purpose of preventing the death of the mother.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 161.007. TERMINATION WHEN PREGNANCY RESULTS FROM CRIMINAL

    ACT. The court may order the termination of the parent-child

    relationship of a parent and a child if the court finds that:

    (1) the parent has been convicted of an offense committed under

    Section 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code;

    (2) as a direct result of the commission of the offense by the

    parent, the victim of the offense became pregnant with the

    parent's child; and

    (3) termination is in the best interest of the child.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    593, Sec. 3.31, eff. September 1, 2007.

    SUBCHAPTER B. PROCEDURES

    Sec. 161.101. PETITION ALLEGATIONS. A petition for the

    termination of the parent-child relationship is sufficient

    without the necessity of specifying the underlying facts if the

    petition alleges in the statutory language the ground for the

    termination and that termination is in the best interest of the

    child.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 161.102. FILING SUIT FOR TERMINATION BEFORE BIRTH. (a) A

    suit for termination may be filed before the birth of the child.

    (b) If the suit is filed before the birth of the child, the

    petition shall be styled "In the Interest of an Unborn Child."

    After the birth, the clerk shall change the style of the case to

    conform to the requirements of Section 102.008.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 161.103. AFFIDAVIT OF VOLUNTARY RELINQUISHMENT OF PARENTAL

    RIGHTS. (a) An affidavit for voluntary relinquishment of

    parental rights must be:

    (1) signed after the birth of the child, but not before 48 hours

    after the birth of the child, by the parent, whether or not a

    minor, whose parental rights are to be relinquished;

    (2) witnessed by two credible persons; and

    (3) verified before a person authorized to take oaths.

    (b) The affidavit must contain:

    (1) the name, county of residence, and age of the parent whose

    parental rights are being relinquished;

    (2) the name, age, and birth date of the child;

    (3) the names and addresses of the guardians of the person and

    estate of the child, if any;

    (4) a statement that the affiant is or is not presently

    obligated by court order to make payments for the support of the

    child;

    (5) a full description and statement of value of all property

    owned or possessed by the child;

    (6) an allegation that termination of the parent-child

    relationship is in the best interest of the child;

    (7) one of the following, as applicable:

    (A) the name and county of residence of the other parent;

    (B) a statement that the parental rights of the other parent

    have been terminated by death or court order; or

    (C) a statement that the child has no presumed father;

    (8) a statement that the parent has been informed of parental

    rights and duties;

    (9) a statement that the relinquishment is revocable, that the

    relinquishment is irrevocable, or that the relinquishment is

    irrevocable for a stated period of time;

    (10) if the relinquishment is revocable, a statement in

    boldfaced type concerning the right of the parent signing the

    affidavit to revoke the relinquishment only if the revocation is

    made before the 11th day after the date the affidavit is

    executed;

    (11) if the relinquishment is revocable, the name and address of

    a person to whom the revocation is to be delivered; and

    (12) the designation of a prospective adoptive parent, the

    Department of Family and Protective Services, if the department

    has consented in writing to the designation, or a licensed

    child-placing agency to serve as managing conservator of the

    child and the address of the person or agency.

    (c) The affidavit may contain:

    (1) a waiver of process in a suit to terminate the parent-child

    relationship filed under this chapter or in a suit to terminate

    joined with a petition for adoption; and

    (2) a consent to the placement of the child for adoption by the

    Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or by a licensed

    child-placing agency.

    (d) A copy of the affidavit shall be provided to the parent at

    the time the parent signs the affidavit.

    (e) The relinquishment in an affidavit that designates the

    Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or a licensed

    child-placing agency to serve as the managing conservator is

    irrevocable. A relinquishment in any other affidavit of

    relinquishment is revocable unless it expressly provides that it

    is irrevocable for a stated period of time not to exceed 60 days

    after the date of its execution.

    (f) A relinquishment in an affidavit of relinquishment of

    parental rights that fails to state that the relinquishment is

    irrevocable for a stated time is revocable as provided by Section

    161.1035.

    (g) To revoke a relinquishment under Subsection (e) the parent

    must sign a statement witnessed by two credible persons and

    verified before a person authorized to take oaths. A copy of the

    revocation shall be delivered to the person designated in the

    affidavit. If a parent attempting to revoke a relinquishment

    under this subsection has knowledge that a suit for termination

    of the parent-child relationship has been filed based on the

    parent's affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights, the

    parent shall file a copy of the revocation with the clerk of the

    court.

    (h) The affidavit may not contain terms for limited

    post-termination contact between the child and the parent whose

    parental rights are to be relinquished as a condition of the

    relinquishment of parental rights.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 69, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 9, eff. Sept.

    1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1,

    2003.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1283, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1412, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 161.1031. MEDICAL HISTORY REPORT. (a) A parent who signs

    an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights under

    Section 161.103 regarding a biological child must also prepare a

    medical history report that addresses the medical history of the

    parent and the parent's ancestors.

    (b) The Department of Family and Protective Services, in

    cooperation with the Department of State Health Services, shall

    adopt a form that a parent may use to comply with this section.

    The form must be designed to permit a parent to identify any

    medical condition of the parent or the parent's ancestors that

    could indicate a predisposition for the child to develop the

    condition.

    (c) The medical history report shall be used in preparing the

    health, social, educational, and genetic history report required

    by Section 162.005 and shall be made available to persons granted

    access under Section 162.006 in the manner provided by that

    section.

    Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.

    1258, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

    Sec. 161.1035. REVOCABILITY OF CERTAIN AFFIDAVITS. An affidavit

    of relinquishment of parental rights that fails to state that the

    relinquishment or waiver is irrevocable for a stated time is:

    (1) revocable only if the revocation is made before the 11th day

    after the date the affidavit is executed; and

    (2) irrevocable on or after the 11th day after the date the

    affidavit is executed.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1283, Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 161.104. RIGHTS OF DESIGNATED MANAGING CONSERVATOR PENDING

    COURT APPOINTMENT. A person, licensed child-placing agency, or

    authorized agency designated managing conservator of a child in

    an irrevocable or unrevoked affidavit of relinquishment has a

    right to possession of the child superior to the right of the

    person executing the affidavit, the right to consent to medical,

    surgical, dental, and psychological treatment of the child, and

    the rights and duties given by Chapter 153 to a possessory

    conservator until such time as these rights and duties are

    modified or terminated by court order.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 70, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995.

    Sec. 161.106. AFFIDAVIT OF WAIVER OF INTEREST IN CHILD. (a) A

    man may sign an affidavit disclaiming any interest in a child and

    waiving notice or the service of citation in any suit filed or to

    be filed affecting the parent-child relationship with respect to

    the child.

    (b) The affidavit may be signed before the birth of the child.

    (c) The affidavit shall be:

    (1) signed by the man, whether or not a minor;

    (2) witnessed by two credible persons; and

    (3) verified before a person authorized to take oaths.

    (d) The affidavit may contain a statement that the affiant does

    not admit being the father of the child or having had a sexual

    relationship with the mother of the child.

    (e) An affidavit of waiver of interest in a child may be used in

    a suit in which the affiant attempts to establish an interest in

    the child. The affidavit may not be used in a suit brought by

    another person, licensed child-placing agency, or authorized

    agency to establish the affiant's paternity of the child.

    (f) A waiver in an affidavit under this section is irrevocable.

    (g) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1283, Sec. 13,

    eff. September 1, 2007.

    (h) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1283, Sec. 13,

    eff. September 1, 2007.

    (i) A copy of the affidavit shall be provided to the person who

    executed the affidavit at the time the person signs the

    affidavit.

    (j) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1283, Sec. 13,

    eff. September 1, 2007.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 11, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1283, Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1283, Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 161.107. MISSING PARENT OR RELATIVE. (a) In this section:

    (1) "Parent" means a parent, as defined by Section 160.102,

    whose parent-child relationship with a child has not been

    terminated. The term does not include a man who does not have a

    parent-child relationship established under Chapter 160.

    (2) "Relative" means a parent, grandparent, or adult sibling or

    child.

    (b) If a parent of the child has not been personally served in a

    suit in which the Department of Family and Protective Services

    seeks termination, the department must make a diligent effort to

    locate that parent.

    (c) If a parent has not been personally served and cannot be

    located, the department shall make a diligent effort to locate a

    relative of the missing parent to give the relative an

    opportunity to request appointment as the child's managing

    conservator.

    (d) If the department is not able to locate a missing parent or

    a relative of that parent and sufficient information is available

    concerning the physical whereabouts of the parent or relative,

    the department shall request the state agency designated to

    administer a statewide plan for child support to use the parental

    locator service established under 42 U.S.C. Section 653 to

    determine the location of the missing parent or relative.

    (e) The department shall be required to provide evidence to the

    court to show what actions were taken by the department in making

    a diligent effort to locate the missing parent and relative of

    the missing parent.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 71, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1283, Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1283, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 161.108. RELEASE OF CHILD FROM HOSPITAL OR BIRTHING CENTER.

    (a) Before or at the time an affidavit of relinquishment of

    parental rights under Section 161.103 is executed, the mother of

    a newborn child may authorize the release of the child from the

    hospital or birthing center to a licensed child-placing agency,

    the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, or another

    designated person.

    (b) A release under this section must be:

    (1) executed in writing;

    (2) witnessed by two credible adults; and

    (3) verified before a person authorized to take oaths.

    (c) A hospital or birthing center shall comply with the terms of

    a release executed under this section without requiring a court

    order.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997.

    Sec. 161.109. REQUIREMENT OF PATERNITY REGISTRY CERTIFICATE.

    (a) If a parent-child relationship does not exist between the

    child and any man, a certificate from the bureau of vital

    statistics signed by the registrar that a diligent search has

    been made of the paternity registry maintained by the bureau and

    that a registration has not been found pertaining to the father

    of the child in question must be filed with the court before a

    trial on the merits in the suit for termination may be held.

    (b) In a proceeding to terminate parental rights in which the

    alleged or probable father has not been personally served with

    citation or signed an affidavit of relinquishment or an affidavit

    of waiver of interest, the court may not terminate the parental

    rights of the alleged or probable father, whether known or

    unknown, unless a certificate from the bureau of vital statistics

    signed by the registrar states that a diligent search has been

    made of the paternity registry maintained by the bureau and that

    a filing or registration has not been found pertaining to the

    father of the child in question.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    1283, Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2007.

    SUBCHAPTER C. HEARING AND ORDER

    Sec. 161.2011. CONTINUANCE; ACCESS TO CHILD. (a) A parent

    whose rights are subject to termination in a suit affecting the

    parent-child relationship and against whom criminal charges are

    filed that directly relate to the grounds for which termination

    is sought may file a motion requesting a continuance of the final

    trial in the suit until the criminal charges are resolved. The

    court may grant the motion only if the court finds that a

    continuance is in the best interest of the child. Notwithstanding

    any continuance granted, the court shall conduct status and

    permanency hearings with respect to the child as required by

    Chapter 263 and shall comply with the dismissal date under

    Section 263.401.

    (b) Nothing in this section precludes the court from issuing

    appropriate temporary orders as authorized in this code.

    (c) The court in which a suit to terminate the parent-child

    relationship is pending may render an order denying a parent

    access to a child if the parent is indicted for criminal activity

    that constitutes a ground for terminating the parent-child

    relationship under Section 161.001. The denial of access under

    this section shall continue until the date the criminal charges

    for which the parent was indicted are resolved and the court

    renders an order providing for access to the child by the parent.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1022, Sec. 61, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 3, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2001.

    Sec. 161.202. PREFERENTIAL SETTING. In a termination suit,

    after a hearing, the court shall grant a motion for a

    preferential setting for a final hearing on the merits filed by a

    party to the suit or by the amicus attorney or attorney ad litem

    for the child and shall give precedence to that hearing over

    other civil cases if:

    (1) termination would make the child eligible for adoption; and

    (2) discovery has been completed or sufficient time has elapsed

    since the filing of the suit for the completion of all necessary

    and reasonable discovery if diligently pursued.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 133, Sec. 5, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2001.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.

    172, Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2005.

    Sec. 161.2021. MEDICAL HISTORY REPORT. (a) In a termination

    suit, the court shall order each parent before the court to

    provide information regarding the medical history of the parent

    and the parent's ancestors.

    (b) A parent may comply with the court's order under this

    section by completing the medical history report form adopted by

    the Department of Family and Protective Services under Section

    161.1031.

    (c) If the Department of Family and Protective Services is a

    party to the termination suit, the information provided under

    this section must be maintained in the department records

    relating to the child and made available to persons with whom the

    child is placed.

    Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.

    1258, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

    Sec. 161.203. DISMISSAL OF PETITION. A suit to terminate may

    not be dismissed nor may a nonsuit be taken unless the dismissal

    or nonsuit is approved by the court. The dismissal or nonsuit

    approved by the court is without prejudice.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 4, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2001.

    Sec. 161.204. TERMINATION BASED ON AFFIDAVIT OF WAIVER OF

    INTEREST. In a suit for termination, the court may render an

    order terminating the parent-child relationship between a child

    and a man who has signed an affidavit of waiver of interest in

    the child, if the termination is in the best interest of the

    child.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 5, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2001.

    Sec. 161.205. ORDER DENYING TERMINATION. If the court does not

    order termination of the parent-child relationship, the court

    shall:

    (1) deny the petition; or

    (2) render any order in the best interest of the child.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1090, Sec. 6, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2001.

    Sec. 161.206. ORDER TERMINATING PARENTAL RIGHTS. (a) If the

    court finds by clear and convincing evidence grounds for

    termination of the parent-child relationship, it shall render an

    order terminating the parent-child relationship.

    (b) Except as provided by Section 161.2061, an order terminating

    the parent-child relationship divests the parent and the child of

    all legal rights and duties with respect to each other, except

    that the child retains the right to inherit from and through the

    parent unless the court otherwise provides.

    (c) Nothing in this chapter precludes or affects the rights of a

    biological or adoptive maternal or paternal grandparent to

    reasonable access under Chapter 153.

    (d) An order rendered under this section must include a finding

    that:

    (1) a request for identification of a court of continuing,

    exclusive jurisdiction has been made as required by Section

    155.101; and

    (2) all parties entitled to notice, including the Title IV-D

    agency, have been notified.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 709, Sec. 2, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 72, eff. Sept.

    1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

    2003.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    972, Sec. 44, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 161.2061. TERMS REGARDING LIMITED POST-TERMINATION CONTACT.

    (a) If the court finds it to be in the best interest of the

    child, the court may provide in an order terminating the

    parent-child relationship that the biological parent who filed an

    affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights under

    Section 161.103 shall have limited post-termination contact with

    the child as provided by Subsection (b) on the agreement of the

    biological parent and the Department of Protective and Regulatory

    Services.

    (b) The order of termination may include terms that allow the

    biological parent to:

    (1) receive specified information regarding the child;

    (2) provide written communications to the child; and

    (3) have limited access to the child.

    (c) The terms of an order of termination regarding limited

    post-termination contact may be enforced only if the party

    seeking enforcement pleads and proves that, before filing the

    motion for enforcement, the party attempted in good faith to

    resolve the disputed matters through mediation.

    (d) The terms of an order of termination under this section are

    not enforceable by contempt.

    (e) The terms of an order of termination regarding limited

    post-termination contact may not be modified.

    (f) An order under this section does not:

    (1) affect the finality of a termination order; or

    (2) grant standing to a parent whose parental rights have been

    terminated to file any action under this title other than a

    motion to enforce the terms regarding limited post-termination

    contact until the court renders a subsequent adoption order with

    respect to the child.

    Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,

    2003.

    Sec. 161.2062. PROVISION FOR LIMITED CONTACT BETWEEN BIOLOGICAL

    PARENT AND CHILD. (a) An order terminating the parent-child

    relationship may not require that a subsequent adoption order

    include terms regarding limited post-termination contact between

    the child and a biological parent.

    (b) The inclusion of a requirement for post-termination contact

    described by Subsection (a) in a termination order does not:

    (1) affect the finality of a termination or subsequent adoption

    order; or

    (2) grant standing to a parent whose parental rights have been

    terminated to file any action under this title after the court

    renders a subsequent adoption order with respect to the child.

    Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,

    2003.

    Sec. 161.207. APPOINTMENT OF MANAGING CONSERVATOR ON

    TERMINATION. (a) If the court terminates the parent-child

    relationship with respect to both parents or to the only living

    parent, the court shall appoint a suitable, competent adult, the

    Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, a licensed

    child-placing agency, or an authorized agency as managing

    conservator of the child. An agency designated managing

    conservator in an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of

    relinquishment shall be appointed managing conservator.

    (b) The order of appointment may refer to the docket number of

    the suit and need not refer to the parties nor be accompanied by

    any other papers in the record.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 161.208. APPOINTMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF PROTECTIVE AND

    REGULATORY SERVICES AS MANAGING CONSERVATOR. If a parent of the

    child has not been personally served in a suit in which the

    Department of Protective and Regulatory Services seeks

    termination, the court that terminates a parent-child

    relationship may not appoint the Department of Protective and

    Regulatory Services as permanent managing conservator of the

    child unless the court determines that:

    (1) the department has made a diligent effort to locate a

    missing parent who has not been personally served and a relative

    of that parent; and

    (2) a relative located by the department has had a reasonable

    opportunity to request appointment as managing conservator of the

    child or the department has not been able to locate the missing

    parent or a relative of the missing parent.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 161.209. COPY OF ORDER OF TERMINATION. A copy of an order

    of termination rendered under Section 161.206 is not required to

    be mailed to parties as provided by Rules 119a and 239a, Texas

    Rules of Civil Procedure.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 161.210. SEALING OF FILE. The court, on the motion of a

    party or on the court's own motion, may order the sealing of the

    file, the minutes of the court, or both, in a suit for

    termination.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 161.211. DIRECT OR COLLATERAL ATTACK ON TERMINATION ORDER.

    (a) Notwithstanding Rule 329, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure,

    the validity of an order terminating the parental rights of a

    person who has been personally served or who has executed an

    affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights or an affidavit of

    waiver of interest in a child or whose rights have been

    terminated under Section 161.002(b) is not subject to collateral

    or direct attack after the sixth month after the date the order

    was signed.

    (b) Notwithstanding Rule 329, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure,

    the validity of an order terminating the parental rights of a

    person who is served by citation by publication is not subject to

    collateral or direct attack after the sixth month after the date

    the order was signed.

    (c) A direct or collateral attack on an order terminating

    parental rights based on an unrevoked affidavit of relinquishment

    of parental rights or affidavit of waiver of interest in a child

    is limited to issues relating to fraud, duress, or coercion in

    the execution of the affidavit.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 600, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 601, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

    Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999.

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