Authored By: Partnership to Legal Access
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Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)
SAPCR cases can be simple matters when the parties agree on all of the issues. Courts call agreed cases uncontested cases.
The following forms are used in an uncontested Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)
4. Answer (revised 7/25/2012)
6. Custody Rights and Duties (3 pages)
1. GETTING STARTED
File the Petition
As with all other lawsuits, the first step in an agreed SAPCR is to file a petition. The Petition tells the court and the other parties what the Petitioner wants.
Usually, Petitioners file the petition in the county where the children live. If there has already been a court case about the children, the SAPCR needs to be filed in that county, or the Petitioner can ask the court's permission to transfer the case to the county where the children currently live.
The person who files the petition is called the Petitioner. The other party is called the Respondent.
GIVING LEGAL NOTICE
After you file the petition, the Petitioner gives legal notice to the other parties involved in the case. Legal notice is a procedure that tells the court that the other parties know about the case. Usually, a process server must deliver a copy of the petition to the other parties to satisfy legal notice requirements. (For more information about legal notice, see the Legal Notice brochure at www.TexasLawHelp.org.)
Waiver of Citation
Petitioners can avoid serving the other parties with legal notice if the parties agree to sign Waivers of Citation . A Waiver of Citation is a paper the Respondent signs that tells the court he or she has received a copy of the petition and doesn't need a process server to deliver another one.
Sometimes the Waiver waives additional rights to receive notice about other things that happen in a case. If someone asks you to sign a waiver, read it carefully. Make sure you understand what you're waiving before you sign it.
For the Waiver to be valid, it must be signed in front of a notary and filed with the court papers after the petition has already been filed.
If a Respondent wants to receive notice of everything that happens in a court case, he shouldn't sign a Waiver of Citation.
A Respondent is entitled to notice of all court proceedings only if he files an Answer or General Denial . Filing this paper tells the court the Respondent wants to actively participate in the case.
3. JUDGE SIGNS THE ORDER
The final step in completing an agreed SAPCR case is to go before the judge with a final Order in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship . Remember, complete the order and attach all of the Parenting Plan Exhibits.
You will have to set your case for a final hearing to see the judge. Contact the courthouse to learn how to set a hearing.