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 should 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 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: SAPCR: Custody, Visitation & Support When You’re Not Divorcing

●    Tips for the Courtroom

FORMS filed by the Petitioner to start the case:

  • Petition in Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship
  • 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 Declaration  (only if you or another person named as a party in your case live outside of Texas) 

FORMS filed by the Respondent:

FORMS filled out for the Judge to sign: 

Note: The Parent Custody Order includes the Standard Possession and Access (Visitation) Order as Exhibit A. The Nonparent Custody Order includes a Modified Possession and Access (Visitation) Order as Exhibit A. Talk to a lawyer if the visitation order form does not meet the needs of your family or would not be safe for your children. A lawyer can help you write a possession and access order that is appropriate for your case.


NEED MORE INFORMATION?  Read the following:

Fact Sheets at

Family Law Handbook, a Houston Bar Association publication, available at here!

If you need more help, click here for information on live chat! A way to talk to real person to help you.


Last Review and Update: Sep 29, 2015