Texas

Filing a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR)

A Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (called a SAPCR) can be filed by a parent or other authorized person to ask for a child custody, visitation, child support and medical support order. 

Note:  If you are the child’s parent and paternity of the child has not been legally established, you must file a Paternity case (instead of a SAPCR) to ask for a child custody, visitation, child support and medical support order. Click here for Paternity case instructions and forms.  If you're not sure whether paternity of your child has been legally established, click here to read Texas Paternity Law: Frequently Asked Questions

Find INSTRUCTIONS & FORMS that can be used to file a SAPCR below.  Read the INSTRUCTIONS first! 

Try to talk to a lawyer before you file anything.  Talking with a laywer now can save you time and money in the long run.  Call the Lawyer Referral Information Service at 1-800-252-9690 for help finding a private lawyer or, if you are poor, a free Legal Aid program.  You may also go to www.TexasLawHelp.org and click on "Find Legal Help."

If there has been violence or you feel unsafe, call the Family Violence Legal Line at 1-800-374-HOPE (4873) for free advice.

INSTRUCTIONS & FORMS:

Instructions only
Instructions and all forms

FORMS filed (turned in to the Court) by the Petitioner to start the case:

  • Petition in Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR)
  • Vital Statistics Form - Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship  (Must be printed on one page – front and back. A hard copy of this form may be available at your District Clerk’s Office.)
  • Out-of-State Party Affidavit  (only if you or another person named as a party in your case live outside of Texas) 
  • Exhibit A: Nonparent Relative Supporting Affidavit  (only if you checked in your Petition that you have standing because you are the grandparent, great-grandparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew of the child and the child’s present circumstances will significantly impair (harm) the child’s physical health or emotional development) 

FORMS filed (turned in to the Court) by the Respondent:

FORMS filled out for the Judge to sign: 

*Note: The Parent Custody Order includes the Standard Possession and Access Order as Exhibit A. Talk to a lawyer if this standard visitation schedule does not meet the needs of your family or would not be safe for your children. A lawyer can help you write a Modified Possession and Access Order, Supervised Possession and Access Order, or Possession and Access Order for Child Under 3 that is appropriate for your case. 

**Note: The Nonparent Custody Order includes a sample Possession and Access Order as Exhibit A. Talk to a lawyer if this sample possession order does not meet the needs of your family or would not be safe for the children. A lawyer can help you write a different Possession and Access Order that is appropriate for your case.

NEED MORE INFORMATION?  Read the following:

Fact Sheets at www.TexasLawHelp.org:

Family Law Handbook, a Houston Bar Association publication, available at http://hbawp-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/hba/handbooks/family/Family-English.pdf

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