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(SAPCR) I need a custody order. I am not the child's parent.


(SAPCR) I need a custody order. I am not the child's parent.

This toolkit tells you how to ask for a custody, visitation, child support and medical support order if (1) you are a grandparent or other nonparent and (2) there are no existing court orders about the child. FORMS ARE INCLUDED.

This toolkit includes:

  • Instructions & Forms you can use to file a custody case called a “Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship” (SAPCR for short) as long as you meet all legal requirements.
    • Use the first set of instructions if everyone agrees.
    • Use the second set of instructions if you don’t think the child’s parents will participate in the process.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about filing a nonparent custody case.
  • Articles on topics related to custody, visitation, child support and medical support.

Do NOT use this toolkit if:

  • There is already a court order about the child (not including a family violence protective order). If there is already a court order about the child (such as an Attorney General Child Support Order), use this toolkit instead: I need to change a custody, visitation or support order.

    Note: If there is a family violence protective order, you CAN use this toolkit as long as you meet the other requirements. You must attach a copy of the protective order to your Petition. If you were the victim of family violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) before filing a SAPCR case. You may qualify for free legal help.
  • Do not use the agreed nonparent SAPCR forms if the case is, or is likely to be, contested. If you are not sure, read Is my SAPCR contested or uncontested?

Other Options:

  • Ask the Parent to Sign an Authorization Agreement – Under certain circumstances, a parent (or both parents) may sign an Authorization Agreement for Nonparent Relative or Voluntary Caregiver form to authorize a relative or voluntary caregiver to care for and make decisions for a child. Unlike a custody order, a nonparent authorization agreement can be revoked (taken back) by the parent at any time. Get more information and the form here: Authorization for Nonparent Care of a Child.
  • Get help from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) – Although the OAG cannot represent you, the OAG may be able to help you get a custody order. For information about opening a case with the OAG, call 1-800-252-8014 or go to its website at www.oag.state.tx.us/cs.

Need Help?

  • Use Legal Help Finder to search for a lawyer referral service, legal aid office or self-help center in your area.
  • Check our Legal Clinic Calendar to learn if there is an upcoming legal clinic near you.
  • Use Ask a Question to chat online with a lawyer or law student.

WARNING! The information and forms in this toolkit are not legal advice and are not a substitute for the help of a lawyer. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

Instructions & Forms
Frequently Asked Questions