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Family Law

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Suits Affecting the Parent Child Relationship

Suits affecting the parent child relationship, or SAPCRs, involve the appointment of a conservator of the child, the access to or support of the child, and establishes termination of a parent child relationship. While the term SAPCR is more of a procedural legal term, it is important to bring a suit in the manner dictated by Texas law to ensure that you continue to receive access to or support for your child. An experienced family law attorney can assist you in determining the appropriate venue, parties, and timing for a SAPCR.

Bringing a SAPCR

A SAPCR must be brought in the county where the child resides unless another court has continuing exclusive jurisdiction, or the suit is brought where the venue for the dissolution of marriage was held.

A person who provides the necessities for a child may bring a suit against the parent for reimbursement, so long as that person has legal custody of the child.

A suit may be filed by a parent of the child, an attorney ad litem, a custodian of the child who has visitation or access of the child, a governmental entity, a child agency, an alleged or presumed father, or a person with the actual control, care, and possession of the child. In limited situations, a person who has received adoption consent, a step-parent, a foster parent, a relative, or a prospective adoptive parent may have standing to bring a SAPCR. A court will consider the length of time the child has spent with each person in making the decision as to whether the above individuals have standing to bring the suit.


SAPCRs are often brought to establish child custody or child support obligations. Once the appropriate parties are established in pre-trial documents, the parties must be timely served for the suit to commence. A person who has been providing for the ongoing support of a child should bring a suit to establish child support as soon as possible to ensure they are appropriately reimbursed for a portion of the ongoing child expenses. Once a parent is obligated to contribute a set amount of child support, they are entered into the Texas database, where criminal charges may be brought against them if they fail to comply with the ongoing requirements.

Suits involving access to children or ongoing visitation will involve the best interests of the child in determining which parent or other appropriate party will retain access to the child. An experienced family law attorney can assist you throughout the SAPCR process.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Family Law Attorney

If you are currently involved in a SAPCR, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of the Malley Law Firm. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling family law disputes, including SAPCRs and understand the importance of these suits. SAPCRs can affect your visitation privileges and right to access with your child and should be handled with importance and expediency. Contact our Beaumont or Houston offices today for your initial free consultation.


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