Texas Child Custody Forms Explained

Applying for child custody orders or trying to claim custody of your children can be an uphill battle.  There are forms you need to file with the court to get the court to hear your case and set the terms for your child custody case.  You can always have an attorney help you with these forms, and our Dallas child custody attorneys are available for free consultations to help you learn more about these child custody forms.  The Queenan Law Firm’s Dallas family law attorney explains Texas’ child custody forms and how to apply for child custody and modification.

Applying for Child Custody in Texas

In Texas, “child custody” is officially known as a “conservatorship.”  Instead of “joint custody” or “sole custody,” parents can have a “joint managing conservatorship” or “sole managing conservatorship,” respectively.  Whenever parents live in separate households, such as after a divorce, the parents can apply to the court to seek a custody order dictating who gets custody and how parenting time is divided.  These rulings set the standards going forward, but parents can also apply to have this order modified if there are significant changes in the children’s lives.

When you apply for child custody or child custody modification, you need to file the proper forms with the court.  Any case you that deals with child custody or child support is called a “Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship” (SAPCR).  SAPCR forms can be found online, though the process of finding them may be difficult.

The primary form you will need is a “petition” for a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.  This form tells the court what your case is about and what you want the court to do.  The information you need to fill out on these forms is mostly information about you, your children, and the current living situation.  To complete these forms, you will need the following basic information:

  • Your name
  • The names, birthdates, and county of residence of the children the petition affects (i.e., the children you are trying to get custody of)
  • Your Social Security Number or driver’s license number
  • Your relation to the children
  • The names and contact info of the people who need to respond to the case (i.e., the other parent or parents of the children)
  • What kind of custody rights or other help you are seeking from the court
  • Other relevant information about the case and the current situation

Most of this information is the kind of information you will know, but you should still seek help from an attorney.  If you make errors in requesting the right type of custody or you give the court the wrong information, it may make it harder to progress your case.  Contact an attorney before filling out or submitting any official forms with the courts in Texas.

Custody Options on Texas Child Custody Forms

When you fill out custody forms, you will have to check the right boxes and fill out the right information to tell the court what child custody rights you are seeking with your case.  There are strange options with odd names in Texas, and it might be difficult to understand the options without the help of an attorney.

The format of your form may differ slightly depending on where you get the form from.  However, Texas child custody forms generally have 5 main options you can check-off for “conservatorships” (the official name the courts use for “custody”):

  1. The mother and father share joint custody (a “joint managing conservatorship”)
  2. The mother has sole custody (a “sole managing conservatorship”)
  3. The father has sole custody
  4. A nonparent has sole custody
  5. Two nonparents have joint custody

Joint custody is the most common option.  In most cases where the parents are both willing and able to be parents, they will typically share custody and both will have a hand in raising the children, or at least both parents will share the legal right to make parenting decisions.  Because this case is the most common, the court needs additional information about which parent has the children living with them or whether they share parenting time at all.

When you fill out the custody forms, the court will need to know what the current custody situation is as well as what setup you are requesting, so it is important to make sure that your forms have the correct information in the correct places.  If you are also filing for child support, you may need to fill out parts of the forms relevant to both custody and support.

Many of these forms have additional information requests that might not be necessary in your case, and it may be difficult to know which parts you need to fill in.  Talk to an attorney to ensure that you properly fill out all of the necessary sections of the forms.

For Help with Texas Child Custody Forms, Contact Our Dallas Child Custody Lawyers

To schedule a free consultation about your child custody case, contact The Queenan Law Firm today.  Our Dallas child custody lawyers can help you ensure that your child custody forms are properly filled out and request the right kind of custody for your case.  Call our law offices today to schedule your free legal consultation.  Our number is (817) 476-1797.