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How to File for Custody in Texas

Acquiring custody of your children is a serious and difficult matter in someone’s life. Custody cases can be quite lengthy and take so long if the proper procedure is not followed. To make the resolution of the case is a successful one, handling the legalities of custody swiftly and effectively is important. This article will give you an idea on how to get started by following three main steps.

Get a Lawyer

Going through a custody case alone is possible but logically this is not the best way to go. The complications of custody cases, when handled poorly, can turn into bitter battles.

A lawyer will be the one to help you prepare your case and take the needed steps throughout the whole process. The best interest and well-being of the children is of primary importance in custody cases. Although sometimes pricey, getting a lawyer is worth every penny because you will be paying to reach the best resolution that you can get for the well-being of the children.

Prepare the Necessary Forms and Documents

The state of Texas follows and proper procedure when it comes to filing for child custody. The starting point of this process is by filing a petition with clerk of the court using SAPCR or the Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship form. The exception is when the parties went through divorce because SAPCR automatically applies in divorce cases.

After filing this petition a paying the proper fees, official notice of the filing will be given to the other parent or party. The latter will then be given chance to file an answer to the petition, counter petition, or denial with the courts. Additional documents and completion of other forms may be further required before moving the case to mediation and/or trial.

Gathering Evidence

Gathering evidence pertinent to the custody case should be done as soon as possible. The pieces of evidence should help in proving your ability to take care of the children in all aspects such as emotionally, physically and financially because this will aid the judge to come up with a decision that best serves the interests of the children. Several factors are taken into consideration in determining custody cases. These factors include but are not limited to the parent’s overall health, both physical and mental, the relationship of each parents with the children, and the financial capacity of the parents.

Any documents or evidence that shows the factors mentioned will be relevant to your case. Most lawyers will request for you to have the following documents:

  1. medical records;
  2. financial and employment records; and
  3. police reports, if any.
  4. an expert witness such as a social worker or child psychologist to support your case.

The more evidence you collect, the more compelling your case will be.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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