Authored By: Partnership for Legal Access
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Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)
Contested Cases, No Agreement
When the parties do not agree about custody, visitation or child support, the SAPCR case is not a simple matter. Courts call these cases contested. A contested case is more complicated because the parties disagree. Additional steps and forms are needed.
The following forms may be used in a contested SAPCR case:
7. Answer (revised 7/25/2012)
12. Child Support
13. Medical Support
1. GETTING STARTED
File the Petition
Even in a contested case, the first step is to file the Petition. As in an agreed SAPCR, the Petition is usually filed in the county where the children live, unless a SAPCR has already been filed in another county. The person filing the petition is the Petitioner. All other parties are Respondents.
2. TRO's & TEMPORARY ORDERS
Petitioner's Supporting Affidavit
A Petitioner files the Petitioner's Supporting Affidavit to explain why special orders are needed to:
1. Keep the Respondent away from the child, or
2. Notify the Respondent of the case by a notice in the newspaper.
The affidavit must be signed in front of a notary by the person who personally knows the facts that have been included in the affidavit. (For more information about affidavits, see General Affidavit Instructions on www.TexasLawHelp.org.)
Temporary Restraining Order
If the Petitioner asks for special orders restricting the Respondent or keeping the Respondent away from the children, the Petitioner needs to ask a judge to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
The judge can grant a TRO without the Respondent being present only if the judge believes the Respondent will commit the restricted acts before he or she can be served with notice and a hearing can be held.
When the judge grants an emergency TRO without the Respondent being present, the emergency TRO expires in 14 days. To keep the restrictions on the Respondent, the Petitioner must serve the Respondent with notice and have a hearing on the TRO before it expires.
Notice of Hearing for Temporary Orders
If the Petitioner wants to continue the TRO or establish child support, visitation, or custody while waiting for the final hearing, the Petitioner needs to set a Temporary Orders hearing. Contact the courthouse to learn how to set a Temporary Orders hearing.
After setting the hearing, the Petitioner needs to notify the Respondent. The Respondent can be served with the Notice of Hearing for Temporary Orders when he is served with the petition. (For more information, see Legal Notice brochure at www.TexasLawHelp.org)
If the Petitioner sets the case for a temporary orders hearing to determine custody, visitation, or child support - or to continue a Temporary Restraining Order, the Petitioner should prepare the Temporary Orders form so the judge will have an order to sign.
3. Final Hearing
The final step in a contested SAPCR case is to set the case for a final hearing. Contact the courthouse to learn how to set the final hearing in a contested SAPCR case. Remember to give the other parties at least 45 days notice of the Final Hearing. Be prepared to complete the Order in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship along with all of the Parenting Plan Exhibits, so the judge will have an order to sign.