Texas SAPCR: Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship

What is a Texas SAPCR?

SAPCR is an acronym which stands for ‘suit affecting the parent-child relationship’. If you are going through a divorce with children in Texas, a SAPCR is an essential part of that process as the overall objective of a Texas SAPCR is to create the best possible environment for the child(ren). It is meant to establish the best environment possible for the child or children who are directly impacted by the divorce proceedings.


When is a Texas SAPCR filed?

As soon as a petition for divorce in Texas is filed and there are minor children involved, a SAPCR is automatically initiated. The SAPCR requests that a judge issue orders around visitation, child support, and custody, including the parent’s rights to make decisions for their child including the child’s physical health, religious upbringing, where the child will attend school, and what activities they will participate in. If the parents agree on the issues surrounding the children, like custody and visitation), the likelihood of the court having to step in and make the ruling on these issues is unlikely. However, the more contested the issues, the higher the likelihood that the court will determine what is in the best interest of the child.

An SAPCR can also be filed if married parents have separated or, if parents are not married but there is need to define parental responsibilities (custody, child support, etc.) for the child who is directly involved. It is important to remember that a Texas SAPCR only impacts the child and does not address issues between the parents.


In addition to parents, the following adults may also file an SAPCR:

  • If the parents have passed away, a sibling, grandparent, great-grandparent, uncle/aunt, or other close family member who has been involved in the care of the child for at least one year prior to the filing of the SAPCR.

  • A non-family member who has provided care for the child for at least six months prior to filing of the SAPCR.

  • An individual who is deemed the legal guardian or conservator of the child or children for the six months prior to filing the SAPCR and the parent, legal guardian, or conservator has passed away.

  • An individual who is the child or children’s sibling, grandparent, great-grandparent, uncle/aunt, niece/nephew, or other close family member if the child’s parents have passed away.

  • In cases of abuse or neglect, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services can also file an SAPCR.

How long does a SAPCR case take?

The duration of an SAPCR in Texas will depend on the willingness of the parties involved to agree to the terms and sign the required forms. If parties agree, this would be considered an uncontested case and it will likely be completed by agreement in just a few days.

However, if the parties are unable to come to an agreement, the SAPCR can take much longer as it is considered a contested case. In contested Texas SAPCR cases, a hearing will be set and the issues will be presented in court. An experienced Texas SAPCR attorney can help you navigate the complex process and prepare your case for court.


The family law attorneys at Martin Oostdyk are experienced in all aspects of Texas SAPCR law and leverage their expertise to resolve your case in the most cost-effective way possible while preserving the best interest of your child(ren).