Child Custody Or SAPCR

In Texas, a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR) establishes the legal parent-child relationship and outlines the duties, obligations and responsibilities of each parent.

In a custody dispute, a parent should always keep in mind what is in the best interest of the child. Orders regarding children references custody, visitation and access, child support, and health insurance.

Custody or "conservatorship" is the term used to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of each "conservator" (usually the parents of the child but others can be named conservators of the child).

There are two types of conservatorships:

  • Sole managing
  • Joint managing

In a sole managing conservatorship, the managing conservator will generally have the exclusive right to make all decisions under Texas Family Code 153.132. Please be advised that a sole managing conservatorship is a harsh judgment and goes against Texas public policy.

In a joint managing conservatorship, the managing conservator and possessory would generally share in the decision-making of rights under 153.132, with some exceptions.

While there is presumption in Texas that a joint managing conservatorship is in the best interest of the children, there are various reasons why a judge might grant a sole managing conservatorship. These include incidents of family violence, criminal behavior, criminal background, abuse or negligence of the child, or being absent from the child's life, among other things.

Several factors can impact your chances of being named the managing conservator and many include the parent's involvement in the child's life, the care the parent provides for the child, the time and commitment the parent routinely and historically gave to the child prior to either the divorce or SAPCR being filed, and the parent's availability.

Rights And Duties Of Each Parent

Conservators in either sole or joint managing conservatorship will be named either the managing conservator of the child or the possessory conservator.

A managing conservator is usually the conservator with the exclusive right to determine the children's residence. While the possessory conservator is the conservator who is obligated to pay child support, has a set visitation schedule to visit the child, and may be obligated to provide health insurance for the child.

There are certain legal rights that parents have at all times and some that are exclusively, independently, or jointly assigned to each parent through a custody or divorce suit.

  • Rights that conservators have at all times are listed in the Texas Family Code 153.073.
  • Rights that are exclusively, independently, or jointly assigned to each parent through a custody or divorce suit (depending on the type of conservatorship) include:
    • The right to determine the residence of the child
    • The right to consent to medical, dental and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures
    • The right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child
    • The right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child
    • The right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child
    • The right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States
    • The right to make decisions concerning the child's education
    • The right to the services and earnings of the child
    • Except when a guardian of the child's estate or guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child's estate if the child's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government
    • Texas Family Code 153.132

At its essence, the difference between a sole managing conservatorship and a joint managing conservatorship is the decision-making ability of each conservator.

Requirements To File In Texas

Texas has jurisdiction to make orders regarding children if the children's home state is Texas. A child's home state is Texas if the child has resided in Texas for at least six months. At The Gonzalez Law Group, we will review your case thoroughly to determine whether or not a sole managing or joint managing conservator is appropriate for you. Se habla español.