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Family Law Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: Robert Arredondo appeals from an order terminating the parental relationship between him and his three minor daughters, D.S.A., E.E.A. and O.J.A. HOLDING: Affirmed. The court concludes that the disputed and undisputed evidence both favoring and disfavoring the verdict permitted a reasonable fact-finder to form a firm conviction and belief that the requirements of Texas Family Code �161.001(1)(N) were met. In other words, the verdict is supported by factually sufficient evidence, and because it is, it is also supported by legally sufficient evidence. Arredondo argues that according to In Re: A.V., 57 S.W.3d 51 (Tex. App. – Waco 2001, pet. granted), rev’d on other grounds, No. 01-0706, 2003 Lexis 111 (Tex. July 3, 2000), �161.001(1)(N) is inapplicable when the parent is in prison. This is allegedly so because when a parent is in prison, the state cannot show that it has made reasonable effort to return the child to the parent (i.e. relinquish its custody to the parent), or that the parent has not regularly visited or maintained sufficient contact with the child or the parent has not demonstrated an inability to provide the child with a safe environment. While it may be that both the court and the state so suggested in A.V., the court disagrees with the proposition that �161.001(1)(N) “was never intended to apply to someone” in prison merely because the parent is in prison. Both the state and the court in A.V.read �161.001(1)(N) too literally. Returning the child to the parent, per �161.001(1)(N)(i), does not necessarily mean that the child has to be physically delivered to the incarcerated individual. Not every person in prison has his or her child taken away by the state. Nor is every person in prison unable to provide the child a good environment. Indeed, it is quite conceivable that one in prison may still be able to do so by, at the very least, leaving the ward in the capable hands of a relative, friend or spouse. If such could be done, then it is conceivable that the state has the ability to relinquish its custody over the youth and, thereby, effectively return the child to the incarcerated parent. At the very least, the court cannot say that incarceration renders that possibility impossible. Again, the incarcerated parent may be able to work through surrogates, such as relatives, spouses or friends, to fulfill that obligation. And, if he so arranges and those surrogates agree to the arrangement, it is hard to deny that the parent has taken steps to provide or effectively provided a safe environment. To suggest otherwise would be to suggest that military personnel cannot provide for their children because they may be assigned overseas to combat duty. In that situation, family is often available to step in and help. The same can be no less true when a parent is incarcerated. Nor can the court say that incarceration renders it impossible for the parent to maintain significant contact with the child. While the child may not be able to live with the parent in a jail cell, it would seem that the parent could nonetheless pursue a significant relationship with the offspring through, at the very least, written correspondence. In sum, incarceration does not render sub-paragraph (N) inapplicable simply because of incarceration. And, to the extent that the state and court in A.V.and Arredondosuggest otherwise, the court believes them to be wrong. The court finds that the evidence legally and factually sufficient to warrant termination and that it would be in the best interest of the children to terminate the parent/child relationship. OPINION: Quinn, J.; Quinn and Reavis, JJ., and Boyd, JJ.

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