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Child Custody and Support

This is a guide to laws, books, and other resources covering child support and child custody.

General Information

Note Child custody & support procedures may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the Family Issues page on the Disasters & Emergencies research guide for current information related to COVID-19 and child custody and support.

About This Guide

This research guide is intended to help you locate accurate legal information about child custody, support, and visitation in Texas. The information on this page is geared toward self-represented litigants who wish to take care of things without an attorney. The first page of this guide will explain the parent-child relationship in general, including Suits Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR). Subsequent pages will provide information on child custody and child support specifically.

Please see the Practice Aids page to access a list of practice aids geared towards attorneys (but also useful for self-represented litigants) that are available at the library.

Texas Law

Title 5 of the Texas Family Code pertains to the parent-child relationship in general. Below are a list of some of the chapters within that title that specifically discuss the parent-child relationship and suits affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCRs).

Original Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship

In order to obtain a court order regarding child support, custody, or visitation, you will need to file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, or SAPCR. The links below will explain the process and provide forms for filing your SAPCR.

Modifying a SAPCR

If you would like to change a child support or custody order that resulted from a SAPCR, you will need to file with the court for a modification. The links below explain the process and provide forms for filing or responding to a modification suit.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing legal paternity can be beneficial to the child, the mother, and the father. It will help a father assert his visitation and custody rights. It is is necessary for obtaining child support orders. Below is information about legal paternity and how to establish it.

Our librarians have also created a guide about the termination of parental rights.

E-Books Available at the State Law Library

If you have a library account in good standing, you can check out an OverDrive e-book title or access our remote databases. Don't have a library account? Texas residents can register for a library account from home! Learn more about how to register from home.

Below are some e-book titles that may help you with your research on child custody and support.