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Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship

(SAPCR)

This website only contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Zariah A'londra Tax and Legal Services is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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(SAPCR) I need a custody order. I am the child's parent.

This toolkit tells you how to ask for a custody, visitation, child support, medical support, and dental support order if:

(1) you and the other parent are not married (or don’t want a divorce),

(2) you and the other parent have signed an “Acknowledgment of Paternity,” and

(3) there are no existing court orders about your child.


What You Need to Know About Filing a SAPCR

A Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, or SAPCR, is essentially a legal request for visitation, child custody, child support, or any other order which will impact the interests of a child. Due to the high-stakes nature of these requests, it is crucial for parents to be adequately prepared before they start the SAPCR process.


Who Can File a SAPCR?

Although Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship most commonly involve the birth parents of the child, there are a variety of other parties who may also have legal standing for such a claim. These parties include, but are not limited to:

The child’s legal guardian

  • A man who is claiming to be the father
  • Another individual with visitation rights
  • The child’s foster parent
  • Grandparents who meet certain requirements
  • Department of Family and Protective Services, or other authorized government entity
  • These parties may all have a vested interest in the child’s interests, and as a result they may file a suit for an order that will aid in these interests.

The Best Interests of the Child

As previously mentioned, the best interests of the child will be the determining factor in ordering or rejecting a SAPCR. This is a somewhat subjective decision that must be made by the judge, but there are a set of factors the court will look at when making their determination. These factors include, among others:

  • The child’s own desires
  • The needs of the child, both present and future
  • Any danger the child is potentially facing
  • The stability of each parent’s home, as well as their parenting ability


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a SAPCR case and a paternity case?

A SAPCR case asks a judge to make a custody, visitation, child support, medical support, and dental support order for your child.

A paternity case can ask a judge to make a custody, visitation, child support, medical support, and dental support order for a child AND establish paternity (name the legal father of your child).


Is my SAPCR contested or uncontested?

Zariah A'londra Legal service LLC has instructions for uncontested Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCRs). Your SAPCR is uncontested if it can be finished by agreement or by default.

  • Your SAPCR can be finished by an element if you and the other parent agree about all the issues (including custody, visitation,and child support) and are both willing to sign the SAPCR forms.
  • Your SAPCR can be finished by default (without the other parent) if the other parent is served and does not file an answer or otherwise appear in court.
  • Your SAPCR is contested if the other parent files an answer or waiver of service and will not sign the Order in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. To finish a contested SAPCR, you must set your case for final hearing and give the other parent at least 45 days’ notice of the hearing. It’s important to talk with a lawyer if your case is contested.

I need custody, visitation, nd support order for my child. The other parent and I are not married. Should I file a SAPCR case or paternity case?

If you and the other parent have signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity, you should usually file a SAPCR case. The legal father of your child is already named in the Acknowledgment of Paternity.


If you and the other parent have not signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity, you should usually file a paternity case. A paternity case will ask the judge to establish paternity (name the legal father of your child) AND make custody, visitation, child support, and medical support orders.


Use this toolkit if you want to file a paternity case: I need a paternity order.


Can I file my SAPCR case in Texas?

You can file a SAPCR case in Texas if:

  • the child has lived in Texas for at least the last 6 months (or since birth) or
  • Texas was the child’s home state and the child has been gone less than 6 months.
  • See Texas Family Code Section 152.201.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Talk with a lawyer if this is an issue. Contact Us so we can link you with one of our friendly attorneys. 817-745-4626


What is an Acknowledgment of Paternity?

An Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) is a legal form signed by a man and the child’s mother that states (under penalty of perjury) that the man is the child’s genetic father. An AOP is usually used when the parents aren’t married but agree on the identity of the child’s father. When the completed AOP is filed with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit, the genetic father becomes the child’s legal father with all the rights and duties of a parent.

**Exception: If the child’s mother is married to someone else when the child is born (or the child is born within 300 days of the date of divorce) then the husband (or ex-husband) is the child’s presumed father. You cannot use the AOP form to establish paternity unless the presumed father also signs a Denial of Paternity (DOP).


How do I get a copy of an Acknowledgment of Paternity?

You will need a copy of the Acknowledgment of Paternity form for your SAPCR case. 


What if the other parent doesn’t live in Texas?

If the other parent lives out-of-state, you can still file your SAPCR case in Texas if:

  • the child has lived in Texas for at least the last 6 months (or since birth) or
  • Texas was the child’s home state and the child has been gone less than 6 months.
  • However, the court must have personal jurisdiction over the other parent to make orders that impose a personal obligation on the other parent — such as ordering the other parent to pay child support.
 The Original Petition in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship form includes a list of situations that give the court personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state parent. Check any that apply to your case. 


Where should I file my SAPCR case?

You must file a SAPCR case in the Texas county where the child lives. 

We also provide instructions and legal documents if you are not the child's parent.


 Click to purchase your SAPCR instructions and legal kit today!

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