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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 COVID-19 & Texas Law 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.

The Parent-Child Relationship

Texas law establishes the rights and responsibilities of all parents, whether they are the child's mother or father.

If parents divorce, the law presumes that the parents should be "joint managing conservators," meaning that they would share decision-making responsibilities about a child. However, it does not mean that their time would be evenly split between parents.  In certain situations involving family violence or a parent's absence, one parent may be named a "sole managing conservator."

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 ("sap sir"). The links below will explain the process and provide forms for filing your SAPCR. If you need to change an existing SAPCR, please see our page on Modifying a SAPCR.

Texas Law

Forms and more

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.