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Child Custody

SAPCR vs. Paternity Cases in Texas

If you have a child and you need the court to make an order for custody, visitation, medical, and dental support, you may have heard about “SAPCR cases” and “paternity cases,” but you may not know the difference, nor which one applies to you.

“What is the difference between a paternity case and an SAPCR case?” is a question we hear often. When you file an SAPCR case, you are asking a family court judge to make a decision about child custody, visitation, child support, as well as medical and dental support. In contrast, a paternity case asks a judge to make a decision about all of those same things, AND it asks the judge to establish paternity, which refers to naming a child’s legal father.

Which Case Do I File?

Suppose you are not married to the other parent of your child, but you wish to ask the court to issue orders for child custody, visitation, child support, medical support, and dental support. Do you file an SAPCR case or a paternity case?

It depends on whether paternity has already been established. If paternity was previously established because you and the other parent voluntarily signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity, your next step is to file an SAPCR case.

If you and the other parent have not signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity, the appropriate action is to file a paternity case. Once paternity is established through genetic testing (a DNA test), a judge can issue orders for child custody, visitation, child support, medical support, and dental support.

Can you file your SAPCR case in Texas?

A parent can file their SAPCR case in Texas if:

  • Their child has lived in Texas since birth, or for the last six months or longer, or
  • The child’s home state is Texas, but the child has been living in another state for under six months.

To file your SAPCR case in Texas, you must file it in the Texas county where your son or daughter lives. To learn more about SAPCR and paternity cases in Cypress and Katy, contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC.

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