Parental Rights and Duties under Texas Law

The code of laws of Texas delineates many different parental rights and duties that apply to all Texan citizens with children. These rights and duties typically do not cease because the parents divorce or no longer live together.

First, every parent has the duty to provide care and support to his or her children, even if the parents are minors or have very little income. This duty includes not only providing financial support, but also educational support, medical care, food, a place to live, and clothing. Family court judges will be quickly angered upon hearing that a parent has provided little or no support to the children, and may take harsh measures against that parent, such as ordering jail time or suspending the parent’s license.

There are also many rights that parents have involving their children. For example, the parents have the right to make any decisions that impact their children’s education, such as electing to homeschool instead of enrolling the kids in public school. Additionally, the parents have the right to choose in which faith, if any, the children will be raised. Parents are also entitled to inherit from their children, to represent them in legal actions, and to provide consent for their children to receive medical treatment.

These duties and rights continue until the children are adults under Texas law, which is once they have reached their eighteenth birthdays. While the children are minors, these rights and duties are enforceable under the family laws of the state.

In some cases, unfortunately, a parent’s rights to the children may be terminated. Typically, this also means any duties of support also terminate. Termination of parental rights may occur if a parent has abandoned the child, placed a child in danger, abused the child, or has failed to support the child.