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In re K.W – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In In re K.W., 138 S.W3d 420 (Tex. App.--Fort Worth 2004, pet. denied), an alleged father was incarcerated during the trial on termination of his parental rights and appeared only through his court-appointed attorney. Id. at 423.

The record revealed that after having been served with notice of the lawsuit in April 2002, he had written a letter to the department in May 2002 stating that he was the father of the child in question and was not relinquishing his parental rights. Id. at 429.

The alleged father also sent a similar letter to the trial court coordinator. Id. The trial court terminated his parental rights under section 161.002(b)(1), finding that he had failed to timely file an admission of paternity. Id. at 428.

The court of appeals reversed the lower court's judgment, concluding that the letters to the department and the court were "admissions of paternity sufficient to put the department and the trial court on notice that the alleged father admitted his paternity and wanted to oppose termination of any rights he might have with respect to "the child." Id. at 430.

In sum, the father did not file a counterclaim for paternity or for voluntary paternity under chapter 160.

The father did write a number of letters to the State and to the trial court in which he acknowledged that he was the biological father of K.W. Id.

In that case, the Court held that the father's letters "constituted admissions of paternity sufficient to put the State and the trial court on notice that the father admitted his paternity and wanted to oppose termination of any rights he might have with respect to K.W." Id. at 430.