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The parent-child relationship and the Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship

In your everyday life is apparent you probably do not think about all of the rights and duties associated with parenting are the child. It would be strange, for example, to pay for groceries and then to think to yourself that you are doing so out of your state-mandated obligation to provide food for your children. Likewise, when you are playing at the park with your child, you would be thinking that you have a right to have your child and that there is a presumption in place that you are acting in the best interest of your child when it comes to activities that you perform together. 

That would be an extremely rigid way of looking at your relationship with your children it is one that I can't imagine many of you incorporate into your daily lives. Even for me as a parent of three young kids, I don't think about the legal aspects of my relationship with them. We as parents have enough on our plates to be concerned with before getting bogged down in the legal language of your relationship with your children. He loves your children and he wants what is best for them. How the law defines your rights and duties to your children probably don't factor into your thinking daily. 

However, you will come face to face with power the law defines your relationship with your children when and if you file a divorce or child custody case in Texas. Whereas before a court in a very general sense has jurisdiction over your family if a family law case is filed it isn't as if a judge could show up to your doorstep and start ordering you around. I can imagine the look on your face and mind if a Harris County judge showed up at our home and started telling us how we should act towards our children or perform certain duties in our daily lives. 

It is at the moment that a court accepts your filing of a child custody or divorce case that your relationship with the court changes about your children. At that point, you are voluntarily pudding your relationship with your children under a microscope where a judge will be able to big decisions potentially for you and your family regarding your relationship with one another. This can seem like a relief if your family has been going through struggles together but it could also be constricting in constraining if you are concerned about the ability of a judge to dictate terms of your life to you. 

There are many ways for do you and your Childs another parent to maintain a degree of autonomy over the parenting of your child. They sure far away to lose a degree of that autonomy would be to file a family law case. After all, nobody knows your circumstances and family better than you and your child's other parents do. If it is at all possible To avoid going to court then I think this is a great goal for you to have. I believe this because once you open yourself up to a family law case you are allowing someone other than you 2 has control over the future of your life in your relationship with your children. 

If you are the type of person who has trouble with “going with the flow” then you should do some degree of self-examination before you move forward with a child custody case. Any frustrations that you have with your child's other parent may be able to be put into context when you consider the possible results of never child custody case in Texas. If you cannot stomach the possibility that parts of this child custody case may impact negatively your relationship with your child then you should consider what avenues are available as far as solving your problems without going to court. 

What is a child custody case? 

What we in the family law world generally refer to as a child custody case is in actuality a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. This sort of case is known as a SAPCR for short. Playsuit affecting the parent-child relationship can touch on subjects as diverse as child custody, possession, access, child support, and conservatorships. Your future ability to spend time with your child, make decisions on his or her behalf as well as your obligations to care for your child will be spelled out within this document. 

However, you must first be in a position where a court will hear your lawsuit and issue judgments that can be followed through by you and the other party after the lawsuit is over. This ability to file an original lawsuit affecting your relationship with your child is known as having standing. If the court does not believe that you possess sufficient standing to file a lawsuit the case will not even go before the judge for a hearing. 

It would make sense then for us to discuss who can file may suit affecting the parent-child relationship in Texas. In addition to the parent of your child, any Guardian of your child or their estate, the government itself, or the Department of Family Protective Services may also file lawsuits affecting the parent child relationship. If there is a question as to the paternity of your child then an alleged father of your child may also file a lawsuit of this sort. 

Do grandparents have the standing to file an original lawsuit affecting the parent-child relationship?

a frequently asked question that I receive regarding this subject is whether or not a grandparent of your child may file all lawsuit which affects the parent-child relationship. One would think that since many grandparents play a central role in the lives of other grandchildren that grandparents would be permitted and encouraged to file this type of lawsuit. However, the rules for doing so in Texas are quite strict they had limit grandparents in many circumstances from being able to percent claims in court about their grandchildren. 

A major reason for the difficulty grandparents have in presenting independent lawsuits about their grandchildren is that the law does presume that parents act in their children's best interests. Grandparents can either play a central role in the life of their grandchildren or may not play a role at all. Absent evidence to the contrary a court would presume that you act in your child's best interests if you limit or otherwise restrict the ability of your child's grandparents to spend time with him or her. 

This can be an extremely deflating situation for many grandparents who simply want to spend time with their grandchildren. I have had the opportunity to speak with and represent grandparents in circumstances like these where a child or child in-law prevents them from seeing their grandchildren. A disagreement over any number of subjects or simply apathy can lead to a circumstance where a grandparent is denied the opportunity to build a relationship with their grandchildren.

If you are a grandparent then you may understandably have questions or concerns over your ability to protect the rights that you believe you have about your grandchildren. A grandparent in Texas or another relative of the child-related closely to him or her such as an uncle or aunt may file an original suit requesting managing conservatorship of that child. However, you must also produce evidence sufficient to show a court that the order you are requesting is necessary because the child's present circumstances would significantly impair his or her physical health or emotional development. 

Next, both of the child's parents, A1 surviving parent, or the managing conservator of your child either filed the petition or consented to your filing of this lawsuit. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that the first condition would be easier to prove than to have your child's parents file a lawsuit with you. If that were the case and your grandchild's parents consented to your final lawsuit then they most likely would not have been denying you Visitation or possession of your grandchildren in the 1st place. 

Here is the tough part for many grandparents and other family members to understand. While you can file a lawsuit requesting to become the managing conservator of your grandchildren you may not file a lawsuit requesting to become a possessory conservator hope your grandchild. That means that you must tell the court that you are wanting to be in the primary decision-making position for your grandchild rather than just be a person who can spend time with and possess your grandchild on occasion. 

This is a huge distinction. If you are not in a position where you have the time, money, resources, and physical ability to act as the primary caregiver to your grandchild then you may not be in a tremendous spot to file an independent lawsuit regarding conservatorships of your grandchild. Efforts are underway in the Texas House of Representatives to change this law but currently, these are the circumstances we have to abide by regarding grandparents' rights and children. 

Something important to note is that if you as a grandparent have had substantial past contact with your grandchild, a court may grant you leave to intervene in a pending lawsuit that is filed by another person who is authorized to do so under the Texas family code. You would need to be able to show that the appointment of a parent of your grandchild as a sole managing conservator or both parents as joint managing conservatory's would significantly impair your grandchild's physical health or emotional well-being. 

What do you need to consider if you plan on filing a suit affecting the parent-child relationship? 

If you plan on filing a suit affecting the parent-child relationship you should consider the implications of doing so. First, you should consider whether or not you need to hire an attorney for your case. Legally speaking, there is no requirement for you to be represented by an attorney before filing this type of lawsuit. You are fully able to prepare the documents, file them, pay the fees and attend any court hearings without a lawyer. 

However, it is usually helpful to have an attorney and can go a long way towards helping you achieve the goals that you have for your case. Keep in mind that a suit affecting the parent-child relationship has specific requirements for you to fulfill to have your case heard successfully. On top of that, you need to be able to obtain an enforceable court order after your case. If you do not do so then all of your efforts were for naught. simply having an attorney available to draft documents and prepare orders would be extremely helpful to you and your family. 

The general advice and perspective that I give people on the subject are that if you have children or have a large amount of property at stake in your case then I would always recommend having an attorney to guide you through a divorce. The same general concept applies to a suit affecting the parent-child relationship period since every single case like this involves children it is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer on the front end of a case. 

For example, the attorneys with the law office of Brian Fagan offer free of charge consultations six days a week by phone, in person, and via video. These consultations are a great way to learn about your specific case and how a family court judge would be likely to view your facts and circumstances. While no attorney can provide you with a perfect preview of your case it is certainly possible for you to learn more about the things that matter most to you and to prepare for the events that will likely impact you and your family in the future. 

Next, you should attempt and learn as much as you can about the suit affecting the parent-child relationship. In my opinion, the most important parts for you as a parent to concern yourself with are portions of the case where conservatorships are decided in parts of the case where possession is decided. When it comes to conservatorships, you should begin to learn about the formal rights and duties that you hold about your child under the family code. Then you can prepare for what role you envision for yourself and your children after your case is over. 

When it comes to possession you should understand that most parents in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship are named as joint managing conservators. This will allow for both you and your Co-parent to have a substantial amount of time with your child throughout the year. However, if you are concerned with being the parent who designates the child's primary residence then you should push for managing conservatorships. This allows you to determine the child's residence on most days of the year and allows you to keep possession of your child more often than not. 

On the other hand, if you are a grandparent reading this blog post then you need to concern yourself with the feasibility of even having your case heard before a judge. You have learned that not every grandparent in every situation will even be able to have the standing to file an independent and original lawsuit affecting the parent-child relationship. As such, you need to be specific about your goals and be intentional about how you are going to achieve them. Especially in a grandparent case where simply getting in the courtroom door can be difficult, I would recommend that you hire an experienced family law attorney to guide you. 

A family law attorney can help you determine whether or not your best route to achieve your goals is through going to court or simply and filing a lawsuit and encouraging the opposing party to attend mediation with you. It may make more sense for you to gain Visitation time with your grandchildren and then eventually push for conservatorships rights once you have established a period of Visitation with the grandkids. An attorney would be able to guide you better on this in a consultative session where you can provide him or her with specific information. 

In your everyday life is apparent you probably do not think about all of the rights and duties associated with parenting are the child. It would be strange, for example, to pay for groceries and then to think to yourself that you are doing so out of your state-mandated obligation to provide food for your children. Likewise, when you are playing at the park with your child, you would be thinking that you have a right to have your child and that there is a presumption in place that you are acting in the best interest of your child when it comes to activities that you perform together. 

That would be an extremely rigid way of looking at your relationship with your children it is one that I can't imagine many of you incorporate into your daily lives. Even for me as a parent of three young kids, I don't think about the legal aspects of my relationship with them. We as parents have enough on our plates to be concerned with before getting bogged down in the legal language of your relationship with your children. He loves your children and he wants what is best for them. How the law defines your rights and duties to your children probably don't factor into your thinking daily. 

However, you will come face to face with power the law defines your relationship with your children when and if you file a divorce or child custody case in Texas. Whereas before a court in a very general sense has jurisdiction over your family if a family law case is filed it isn't as if a judge could show up to your doorstep and start ordering you around. I can imagine the look on your face and mind if a Harris County judge showed up at our home and started telling us how we should act towards our children or perform certain duties in our daily lives. 

It is at the moment that a court accepts your filing of a child custody or divorce case that your relationship with the court changes about your children. At that point, you are voluntarily pudding your relationship with your children under a microscope where a judge will be able to big decisions potentially for you and your family regarding your relationship with one another. This can seem like a relief if your family has been going through struggles together but it could also be constricting in constraining if you are concerned about the ability of a judge to dictate terms of your life to you. 

There are many ways for do you and your Childs another parent to maintain a degree of autonomy over the parenting of your child. They sure far away to lose a degree of that autonomy would be to file a family law case. After all, nobody knows your circumstances and family better than you and your child's other parents do. If it is at all possible To avoid going to court then I think this is a great goal for you to have. I believe this because once you open yourself up to a family law case you are allowing someone other than you 2 has control over the future of your life in your relationship with your children. 

If you are the type of person who has trouble with “going with the flow” then you should do some degree of self-examination before you move forward with a child custody case. Any frustrations that you have with your child's other parent may be able to be put into context when you consider the possible results of never child custody case in Texas. If you cannot stomach the possibility that parts of this child custody case may impact negatively your relationship with your child then you should consider what avenues are available as far as solving your problems without going to court. 

What is a child custody case? 

What we in the family law world generally refer to as a child custody case is in actuality a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. This sort of case is known as a SAPCR for short. Playsuit affecting the parent-child relationship can touch on subjects as diverse as child custody, possession, access, child support, and conservatorships. Your future ability to spend time with your child, make decisions on his or her behalf as well as your obligations to care for your child will be spelled out within this document. 

However, you must first be in a position where a court will hear your lawsuit and issue judgments that can be followed through by you and the other party after the lawsuit is over. This ability to file an original lawsuit affecting your relationship with your child is known as having standing. If the court does not believe that you possess sufficient standing to file a lawsuit the case will not even go before the judge for a hearing. 

It would make sense then for us to discuss who can file may suit affecting the parent-child relationship in Texas. In addition to the parent of your child, any Guardian of your child or their estate, the government itself, or the Department of Family Protective Services may also file lawsuits affecting the parent child relationship. If there is a question as to the paternity of your child then an alleged father of your child may also file a lawsuit of this sort. 

Do grandparents have the standing to file an original lawsuit affecting the parent-child relationship?

a frequently asked question that I receive regarding this subject is whether or not a grandparent of your child may file all lawsuit which affects the parent-child relationship. One would think that since many grandparents play a central role in the lives of other grandchildren that grandparents would be permitted and encouraged to file this type of lawsuit. However, the rules for doing so in Texas are quite strict they had limit grandparents in many circumstances from being able to percent claims in court about their grandchildren. 

A major reason for the difficulty grandparents have in presenting independent lawsuits about their grandchildren is that the law does presume that parents act in their children's best interests. Grandparents can either play a central role in the life of their grandchildren or may not play a role at all. Absent evidence to the contrary a court would presume that you act in your child's best interests if you limit or otherwise restrict the ability of your child's grandparents to spend time with him or her. 

This can be an extremely deflating situation for many grandparents who simply want to spend time with their grandchildren. I have had the opportunity to speak with and represent grandparents in circumstances like these where a child or child in-law prevents them from seeing their grandchildren. A disagreement over any number of subjects or simply apathy can lead to a circumstance where a grandparent is denied the opportunity to build a relationship with their grandchildren.

If you are a grandparent then you may understandably have questions or concerns over your ability to protect the rights that you believe you have about your grandchildren. A grandparent in Texas or another relative of the child-related closely to him or her such as an uncle or aunt may file an original suit requesting managing conservatorship of that child. However, you must also produce evidence sufficient to show a court that the order you are requesting is necessary because the child's present circumstances would significantly impair his or her physical health or emotional development. 

Next, both of the child's parents, A1 surviving parent, or the managing conservator of your child either filed the petition or consented to your filing of this lawsuit. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that the first condition would be easier to prove than to have your child's parents file a lawsuit with you. If that were the case and your grandchild's parents consented to your final lawsuit then they most likely would not have been denying you Visitation or possession of your grandchildren in the 1st place. 

Here is the tough part for many grandparents and other family members to understand. While you can file a lawsuit requesting to become the managing conservator of your grandchildren you may not file a lawsuit requesting to become a possessory conservator hope your grandchild. That means that you must tell the court that you are wanting to be in the primary decision-making position for your grandchild rather than just be a person who can spend time with and possess your grandchild on occasion. 

This is a huge distinction. If you are not in a position where you have the time, money, resources, and physical ability to act as the primary caregiver to your grandchild then you may not be in a tremendous spot to file an independent lawsuit regarding conservatorships of your grandchild. Efforts are underway in the Texas House of Representatives to change this law but currently, these are the circumstances we have to abide by regarding grandparents' rights and children. 

Something important to note is that if you as a grandparent have had substantial past contact with your grandchild, a court may grant you leave to intervene in a pending lawsuit that is filed by another person who is authorized to do so under the Texas family code. You would need to be able to show that the appointment of a parent of your grandchild as a sole managing conservator or both parents as joint managing conservatory's would significantly impair your grandchild's physical health or emotional well-being. 

What do you need to consider if you plan on filing a suit affecting the parent-child relationship? 

If you plan on filing a suit affecting the parent-child relationship you should consider the implications of doing so. First, you should consider whether or not you need to hire an attorney for your case. Legally speaking, there is no requirement for you to be represented by an attorney before filing this type of lawsuit. You are fully able to prepare the documents, file them, pay the fees and attend any court hearings without a lawyer. 

However, it is usually helpful to have an attorney and can go a long way towards helping you achieve the goals that you have for your case. Keep in mind that a suit affecting the parent-child relationship has specific requirements for you to fulfill to have your case heard successfully. On top of that, you need to be able to obtain an enforceable court order after your case. If you do not do so then all of your efforts were for naught. simply having an attorney available to draft documents and prepare orders would be extremely helpful to you and your family. 

The general advice and perspective that I give people on the subject are that if you have children or have a large amount of property at stake in your case then I would always recommend having an attorney to guide you through a divorce. The same general concept applies to a suit affecting the parent-child relationship period since every single case like this involves children it is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer on the front end of a case. 

For example, the attorneys with the law office of Brian Fagan offer free of charge consultations six days a week by phone, in person, and via video. These consultations are a great way to learn about your specific case and how a family court judge would be likely to view your facts and circumstances. While no attorney can provide you with a perfect preview of your case it is certainly possible for you to learn more about the things that matter most to you and to prepare for the events that will likely impact you and your family in the future. 

Next, you should attempt and learn as much as you can about the suit affecting the parent-child relationship. In my opinion, the most important parts for you as a parent to concern yourself with are portions of the case where conservatorships are decided in parts of the case where possession is decided. When it comes to conservatorships, you should begin to learn about the formal rights and duties that you hold about your child under the family code. Then you can prepare for what role you envision for yourself and your children after your case is over. 

When it comes to possession you should understand that most parents in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship are named as joint managing conservators. This will allow for both you and your Co-parent to have a substantial amount of time with your child throughout the year. However, if you are concerned with being the parent who designates the child's primary residence then you should push for managing conservatorships. This allows you to determine the child's residence on most days of the year and allows you to keep possession of your child more often than not. 

On the other hand, if you are a grandparent reading this blog post then you need to concern yourself with the feasibility of even having your case heard before a judge. You have learned that not every grandparent in every situation will even be able to have the standing to file an independent and original lawsuit affecting the parent-child relationship. As such, you need to be specific about your goals and be intentional about how you are going to achieve them. Especially in a grandparent case where simply getting in the courtroom door can be difficult, I would recommend that you hire an experienced family law attorney to guide you. 

A family law attorney can help you determine whether or not your best route to achieve your goals is through going to court or simply and filing a lawsuit and encouraging the opposing party to attend mediation with you. It may make more sense for you to gain Visitation time with your grandchildren and then eventually push for conservatorships rights once you have established a period of Visitation with the grandkids. An attorney would be able to guide you better on this in a consultative session where you can provide him or her with specific information. 

Questions about the material presented in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

if you have any questions about the material presented in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations can be a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. Thank you for your interest in our law office and we hope you will join us again tomorrow as we continue to post information about Texas family law. 

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