Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 288th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2016PA02386 Honorable Charles E. Montemayor, Judge
Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Karen Angelini, Justice Patricia
O. Alvarez, Justice
Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice
an accelerated appeal of the trial court's order
terminating Appellant V.M.'s parental rights to his
child, M.J.M.G. V.M. contends the evidence is neither legally
nor factually sufficient for the trial court to have found,
by clear and convincing evidence, that terminating his
parental rights is in M.J.M.G.'s best interest.
See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(2).
Because we conclude V.M. failed to challenge an independent
ground in support of the trial court's ruling, we affirm
the trial court's order terminating V.M.'s parental
and Procedural Background
was born on October 14, 2016. Both M.J.M.G. and his mother
tested positive for amphetamines and marijuana at the time of
his birth. M.J.M.G. was placed in the neonatal intensive care
unit due to respiratory problems and withdrawal symptoms.
October 24, 2016, the Texas Department of Family and
Protective Services filed its Original Petition for
Protection of a Child, for Conservatorship, and for
Termination in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship.
several status hearings, on May 18, 2017, the matter was
called for trial. Following a hearing, the trial court
terminated V.M.'s parental rights to M.J.M.G. based on
the following grounds:
(1) after being served with citation, V.M. failed to file an
admission of paternity or counterclaim for paternity under
Chapter 160 of the Texas Family Code, see Tex. Fam.
Code Ann. § 161.002(b)(1); and
(2) V.M. constructively abandoned M.J.M.G. and used
controlled substances supporting termination under Texas
Family Code Sections 161.001(b)(1) (N), and (P), see
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(1) (N), (P), and
termination of V.M.'s parental rights was in
M.J.M.G.'s best interest, see id. §
to Legitimate Paternity
brief, the State argues V.M. failed to challenge the trial
court's finding under Texas Family Code section
161.002(b)(1) that V.M. failed to timely file an admission of
paternity or a counterclaim for paternity under Chapter 160
of the Texas Family Code. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
court previously held, "[t]here are no formalities that
must be observed when filing an admission of paternity or for
such an admission to be effective." In re
J.L.A., No. 04-13- 00857-CV, 2014 WL 1831097, at *2
(Tex. App.-San Antonio May 7, 2014, no pet.) (mem. op.);
accord In re K.W., No. 02-09-00041-CV, 2010 WL
144394, at *3 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Jan. 14, 2010, no pet.)
(mem. op.). "In fact, by appearing at trial and
admitting that he is the child's father, an alleged
father triggers his right to require the Department to prove
one of the ...