While most everyone knows what a divorce is, the term “SAPCR” (suit affecting the parent-child relationship) is generally unrecognizable outside of the family law community in Texas. A SAPCR refers to a lawsuit in the best interests of a child.
At Izzo & Associates, PLLC, we have observed that most judges in the state of Texas prefer that parties settle their cases as peacefully as possible, especially when children are involved. While this is not always achievable due to the nature of an adversarial dispute, our firm is specifically geared toward using our knowledge and experience of family law to attempt a negotiated settlement, saving time and money and avoiding emotional distress for both the adults and young ones involved.
How We Start These Cases
In most people’s minds, the first step in a divorce or SAPCR action is to file a petition with the court immediately. By speaking with our clients upfront, we can explain both the ins and outs of their specific legal process since no two cases are alike. Sometimes it is best to advise our client to take certain steps before filing a petition to enhance their position before we file.
In other situations, we advise filing immediately to place our client in the first position before the court or in child endangerment situations to allow us also to file a request for Temporary Restraining Order to inhibit an opponent from harming a child.
In a typical nonemergency situation, once an initial strategy is established with the knowledge and agreement of our client, a pleading must be filed in the local court of record. The opposing party must then either be served with process, or they must agree to sign a waiver of service for due process to be established. In other words, the opposing party must be notified of the lawsuit.
What Is Required To Initiate A Divorce
Texas is what is called a “no-fault” divorce state. Traditionally, numerous other states have required a minimum of one year of separation time for a divorce to be granted or for fault to be established (such as physical or mental abuse or adultery). State law only needs at least one party to believe the marriage has ended for a divorce to proceed.
Any form of inappropriate behavior harming others may be incorporated into any case, child-related or not. We will discuss pleading “Fault” further in our property and debt section on this website. However, if the custodian of a child has committed an act that is not in the child’s best interests in either a divorce or a SAPCR action, this will be taken seriously by the court, and steps will be taken to protect the child.
Building Your Case
A necessary legal tool that we can utilize to glean evidence needed to advance or complete our client’s cases involves conducting various forms of discovery. Our team is adept at developing and sending out discovery requests, including:
- Requests for the production of documents
- Subpoenas for information from third parties
- Interrogatories (written questions)
- Depositions (questioning the opposing party in front of a court reporter under oath)
- Business or medical record affidavits
- Developing and sending out Requests for Admissions (requiring the opposing party to admit or deny specific facts for the record)
Conducting discovery can, in the appropriate circumstance, assist our clients in locating assets and debts and in collecting proof of fault or fraud, as an example. It should be noted that unless the above tools are necessary for your case, Izzo & Associates, PLLC, can conserve time and costs for our clients to accomplish a divorce that can be settled by other means.