Waco Family Law
Child Custody
aka SAPCR
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Please realize the information contained on this web site should not be construed as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between us. It is simply here as a means for me to provide you some basic information for you to use when deciding on whether or not you need to hire an attorney. Because each case is different, it would be impossible for us to provide legal advice on a web site.
Gary Cunha, P.C., Attorney and Counselor at Law
100 N. 6th #604, Waco, TX 76701
254-752-4279 fax 888-748-5297
Child Custody is determined on the "best interests of the child[ren]" standard in Texas. The presumption in Texas is Joint Managing Conservators, with one being the person who designates the residence of the children (often called the "primary conservator") and one who gets visitation and pays child support. "Joint Managing Conservators" does not mean equal access, nor does it mean paying no child support [two mistaken assumptions I often hear]. The presumption continues that the best interests of the child[ren] are served by the "standard visitation order" which provides that the conservator who does not establish the residence of the child[ren]. Standard visitation is the First, Third, and Fifth weekend of each month, plus two hours during the week, extended periods during the summer, and certain holidays. This schedule changes if the parties live more than 100 miles away from each other, by making the summer visits longer in exchange for less frequent visits during the school year. It can be expanded under Section 153.317 of the Family Code if the alternative beginning and ending times are in the best interest of the child(ren).
May be brought in court of continuing exclusive jurisdiction.
Grounds for modification are:
  1. By party's agreement;
  2. Child older than 12's preference expressed to judge in chambers;
  3. Voluntary relinquishment for at least 6 months; or
  4. a material and substantial change
Modification of Child Custody
Filing an Original SAPCR
When should you file an Original SAPCR? If you have child(ren) and no prior order is established you can file a SAPCR (yes, even if you are still married). This can be to protect yourself and your child(ren) in the event of a separation from the other parent. Typically law enforcement agencies will not intervene when one parent takes a child from the other parent unless there is an existing court order in effect.