Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship

In Texas, when court orders need to be entered in order to address the needs of a child, the law suit is called a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship ("SAPCR"). If a divorce case is filed and the parties have a child, their divorce case automatically includes a SAPCR. if a married couple are separated and are not sure they want to be divorced, but need to have court orders in effect to deal with custody, how decisions will be made for their child, how visitation will be addressed, whether or not the child's residence will be subject to a geographic restriction, who will pay child support and how much, and how medical support will be provided for the child, one of the parents will often file a SAPCR. If a child is receiving public assistance or if a parent requests the Office of the Attorney General's assistance, the Office of the Texas Attorney General may file a original SAPCR. If the parents are not married, the original SAPCR will include a request for the court to legally establish ("adjudicate") the parent-child relationship between the child and the child's biological father. In cases in which the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ("CPS") is involved due to an allegation of abuse or neglect, and the child is removed from the parents, CPS may file an original SAPCR, and if the parents are not married or there is a question as to who the father is, the SAPCR may also include a request to establish paternity. These are all examples of some of the many situations in which a SAPCR may be filed.

Once a SAPCR has been filed and a final order has been signed by the court, the SAPCR can be thought of as going dormant in that court, which is now the court of continuing jurisdiction. The SAPCR will remain dormant in the court of continuing jurisdiction until it becomes necessary to ask the court to enter new orders to address the changing needs of the child, the parents, or a nonparent conservator. When that happens, the suit is called a Suit to Modify Parent-Child Relationship (a Modification case). A Modification case will need to be filed in the court of continuing jurisdiction. Depending on where the parents reside, it may be necessary to transfer the case from one Texas county to another. The situation can be come much more complex when a parent comes to Texas with the child or moves away from Texas. Every situation must be looked at carefully in order to determine what needs to be done in order to address the needs of the parties and the child.

As an experienced Houston family law attorney licensed to practice law in Texas since November, 1986, I have handled many SAPCR cases. I am committed to providing you with the time and personal attention you need in order to help you understand the process of resolving your case and addressing the needs of your children as smoothly as possible. I am committed to taking the time to listen to you and discuss the options available to you, and ease your worries and concerns, as you make difficult and life changing decisions that will affect you and your child.

If you are contemplating divorce and have children, are separated and need to address the needs of your children, have a child with someone you are not married to and wish to address the needs of your child, have custody of your grandchild, and need to address the needs of the child, and you want to know your rights and the options that are available to you, call or email us today to schedule your initial consultation.