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Posted on in Child Custody

TX family lawyerDivorcing adults have to manage many complex issues, especially when there are children in the picture. Parents are deeply invested in the welfare of their children, and when parents view each other as incompetent or malicious, it can be very difficult to reach a compromise about what is in the child’s best interests. A suit affecting the parent-child relationship, or SAPCR, is a legal request to establish or adjust issues related to children during or after a divorce.

What Does a SAPCR Do?

SAPCRs are automatically used when parents file for divorce, and they address the following child-related issues:

  • Child custody, including which parent has conservatorship (decision-making authority)
  • Visitation, including holiday schedules
  • Child support
  • Medical support
  • In addition to divorce, SAPCRs are used when other adult caregivers need to establish legal arrangements for a child for the issues listed above. These caregivers may include, but are not limited to:
  • Parents who are divorced and want to modify a family court order
  • Parents who have legally separated
  • Parents who have never been married
  • A man who is claiming to be the father of a child
  • A non-parent, such as a foster parent or legal guardian, who is involved in a child’s care
  • A close family member who is caring for a child after the child’s parents have died
  • The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, when they are investigating a case of abuse or neglect and are seeking to remove a child from the custody of one or both parents

When Can a SAPCR Be Filed?

Whenever a parent or any other adult caregiver needs to legally establish or adjust a court order detailing how a child’s needs are addressed, a SAPCR must be used. The child in question must have lived in Texas for at least six months (or, if the child is younger than six months old, since the child’s birth). A SAPCR must be filed in the county where the child lives.

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TX family lawyerFinding out that you will be a father can be a thrilling and terrifying experience. You may feel unprepared, unsure of yourself, and even wonder whether this is something you want to do at all. However, despite the challenges of being a parent, establishing paternity under Texas law can benefit everyone - the father, the mother, and, most importantly, the child. Understanding how paternity is established in Texas and why it is important to establish paternity is a great first step in becoming a responsible father.

How Is Paternity Established in Texas?

If a man and a woman are married, establishing paternity is straightforward - the man is presumed to be the child’s father. Likewise, if a child is born within 300 days of a couple’s divorce, the former husband is still presumed to be the child’s father.

If parents are unmarried, however, the process is a little more complicated. If both parents agree that the alleged father is indeed the father of the child, they can sign a legally valid acknowledgment form declaring paternity. Both parents must sign the form to be valid.

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TX divorce lawyerMost people getting divorced in Texas choose to hire an attorney. For many years, the typical way to approach divorce was to hire an attorney who did everything from drafting letters to filing legal documents to appearing in court. This is still an effective strategy for many clients, but it may present challenges for clients who are conscious about their finances or who prefer to handle certain aspects of the divorce themselves.

Fortunately, the services an attorney can provide to their clients may now vary widely depending on the client’s needs, preferences, and budget. Texans who do not want or need full representation during their divorce can take an unbundled approach called “limited scope representation.” If you have budget concerns, anticipate having a fairly simple divorce, or merely wish to handle certain aspects of your divorce without the help of an attorney, this method may be appropriate for you.

What Is Limited Scope Representation?

Limited scope representation allows attorneys to work with clients in a very flexible way. Attorneys can provide legal advice, explain the divorce process, help set reasonable expectations, and draft or review documents, but the beauty in the arrangement is that you get to decide exactly how much help you want. You can set a budget, explain your priorities, and work with an attorney until you meet your budgetary restraints, or you can simply pick and choose which issues you wish to work on together.

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TX divorce lawyerThe holidays make up some of the most special times in our lives, but for parents who are getting divorced or have recently divorced, they can be stressful. Parents must create and stick to a visitation schedule that divides the children’s time between households and extended families.

Parents will sometimes try to cope with the difficulty of the changes in scheduling by overcompensating with lavish gifts, free schedules, and other indulgences. But this is not necessarily good for children, and it does not make them love their parents more than they did before. Navigating the holidays after divorce is a unique challenge, but for parents committed to their children’s well being, it is entirely possible to do so. Here are some tips to help.

Tips for Navigating Holidays During and After Divorce

  • Avoid competing with your ex - Children can get caught in the middle of parents trying to one-up each other with great gifts and extra fun plans. But children all over the world have meaningful holidays without getting the very best that the toy store has to offer. Time together is often the thing children crave from their parents, and giving that gift is free.
  • Take advantage of time off - If your children are visiting the other side of the family during the holidays, do not restrict yourself to staying in your sweatpants in bed (unless rest is what you need!). Instead, take this opportunity to pamper yourself, reconnect with old friends, and perhaps travel somewhere new.
  • Create new memories - Sometimes parents will try to maintain the traditions they held during their marriage, but that can make parents and children both feel sad. Look for opportunities to create new traditions. Some families try to take the focus off of themselves by looking for a way to volunteer and give to others. When done mindfully, creating traditions can set an example of how to move through challenging circumstances in a healthy way.
  • Avoid idealizing through movies and magazines - Entertainment is good for just that: Entertaining us. But if you draw upon TV, magazines, and social media users to set the standard of what your holidays need to look like, you may end up feeling even more disappointed. Rather than comparing yourself to a “perfect” scenario, remember that your family’s circumstances are the best guide to what is perfect for you.

Work with a Plano, TX Child Custody Lawyer

If you are getting divorced and struggling to understand the implications this may have for you and your children during the holidays, we may be able to help. Navigating the holidays after your divorce can be made much easier with a great parenting plan along with the support of an experienced Collin County divorce attorney with the Law Office of Brian Bagley. Call our offices today at 972-422-2424 to schedule a free initial consultation and find out more about what we can do for you.

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texas divorce lawyerDivorce can be a source of great personal distress. In addition to ending what is often a long and complicated relationship, divorce also shifts a couple’s finances in ways that can be difficult to understand and account for. It is very important to prepare financially for divorce so you can continue saving and planning for life after your divorce is finalized. 

Create a Budget

If you have never created and committed to a budget, now is the time to start. To prepare yourself financially for divorce, you need to understand how you are handling your money right now. Look through bank accounts and credit card statements to find out where you spend money and where you could cut back. 

In addition to accounting for current expenses, it is wise to try to anticipate future expenses. Divorce causes one family to separate into two different households, which can be substantially more expensive. Child support and spousal maintenance can place a significant burden on your finances, and it is important to plan for these changes. The more money you can save in the months leading up to a divorce, the better position you will be in. 

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