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Child Custody and Support

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

Child Custody


Custody of a child is one aspect of the parent-child relationship that can be determined in a SAPCR. This page will provide information on the process of obtaining custody of a child through the courts.

Note Child custody 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.

Understanding the Basics

Most people think of the terms "custody" and "visitation" when it comes to whom the child lives with. Texas law uses the terms "conservatorship," "possession," and "access." The links below provide more information about what these terms mean and how they are used.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Possession Orders

Possession orders are documents that say when each parent will spend time with the child. They are usually issued as part of the SAPCR. Courts have the power to enforce these orders if the other parent is not following them.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Forms

Child's Preference

Upon request by one of the parties in a custody suit, Texas law requires the court to interview a child who is at least twelve years old about their wishes about custody. The court must still make a decision that is in the best interest of the child, but the child can at least have the opportunity to have their preference heard. 

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Out-of-State Custody and Possession Orders

If a court from another state or country issued a custody or visitation order while you were living there, upon moving to Texas you can register it with the appropriate Texas court. You might see this referred to as "domesticating a foreign order" or "registering a foreign order." This will allow the Texas court to enforce that order. 

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Forms

Our librarians have not been able to find a free form on this topic widely available online. In order to access the resource below, you will need to sign up for a free library account with us.

Non-parental Caregivers

Relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings caring for a child may run into difficulties if they are not the legal conservator of the child. The resources below contain information that may be helpful for non-parent caregivers.

Special Issues in Custody and Visitation

Certain family circumstances, such as military service or incarceration, may factor into possession and access in Texas. The following links discuss how these circumstances affect SAPCRs.

Who Can I Contact?