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SAPCR Common Questions

Who Can File a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)?
The child or children’s parents are typically the parties who file a SAPCR. Some other adults are able to file SAPCR petitions, including:
  • A foster parent to the child or children who has been involved in their care for at least one year prior to filing the SAPCR.
  • An individual who has cared for the child or children for the six months prior to filing the SAPCR but is not a foster parent.
  • An individual who is deemed the legal guardian or conservator of the child or children for the six months prior to filing the SAPCR and the parent, legal guardian, or conservator has passed away.
  • An individual who is the child or children’s sibling, grandparent, great-grandparent, uncle/aunt, niece/nephew, or other close family member if the child’s parents have passed away.

Can I File a SAPCR in Texas?
If the child has lived in Texas for at least the last six months, or since birth, or Texas was the child’s home state and they have only been gone for less than six months, you can file a SAPCR case in Texas according to Texas Family Code 152.201. If you are filing your SAPCR case in Texas, you must do so in the county where the child currently lives. If the other parent involved does not live in Texas, you can still file your SAPCR here if your child lives here.

What Can a SAPCR Do?
The decision to file a SAPCR can be made for a variety of reasons, all of which center around the wellbeing of the child or children involved. They are useful tools that legally outline the rights and duties of both parents and are used to make legal matters, including child support, visitation schedules, treatment of medical issues, and more, clear cut and defined. The health and upbringing of a child are central to any divorce that involves children and must be prioritized. A SAPCR makes sure that all details of the child’s upbringing are taken care of.

What Happens Once a SAPCR Is Filed?
Once a SAPCR is filed in family court, that court will have continuing jurisdiction. The contents outlined in the SAPCR and other court orders will remain legally binding unless a petition is filed to update their terms. As the child or children get older, there may be updates or modifications needed. Any changes must be filed in the court of continuing jurisdiction. The new petition would then be referred to as a Suit Modifying the Parent-Child Relationship or SMPCR.

What is decided in a SAPCR case?
The judge in a SAPCR case will make custody, visitation, child support, and medical support orders. The judge is always looking out for the child’s best interests. Custody, also known as “conservatorship,” in Texas, is the legally defined relationship between the parents and their child or children. Custody will be determined during a SAPCR case. Visitation orders issued during a SAPCR case dictate when each parent has the right to time with their child or children. Child support is also determined, as is the amount of money one parent pays to help with the cost of raising the child. These costs could include housing, food, clothing, school supplies, daycare, sports, and other activities. A judge can order a parent to pay a certain amount of child support and/or medical support to cover the costs of health insurance and other medical expenses.