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. Obviously, a divorce may or may not involve minor children. Still, those that do, are made up of two distinct parts: one, the SAPCR portion concerning the best interests of the parties’ children, and two, the equitable division of all community property assets and debts. While a SAPCR suit usually does not involve married individuals, nor the division of property, it involves the same child-related issues, case facts, and strategies that are involved in a divorce. Therefore, we have elected to discuss both of these very similar child-related legal actions herein. A SAPCR suit involves the custody, visitation, child support, and/or medical and dental support of a child. It can involve a married couple, two unmarried individuals who have conceived a child, or other interested individuals who would like to be involved for the benefit of a minor child, such as the child’s grandparents.

How we can help

At Izzo & Associates, 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 to attempt a negotiated settlement, saving time and money and avoiding emotional distress for both the adults and young ones involved. Obviously, by its nature, a child-related lawsuit involves deep emotional issues, and we take guiding you through this process very seriously. If an amicable settlement cannot be reached, however, we then utilize our entire team’s skill and expertise to assert our client’s position in court.

First steps

In most people’s minds, the first step in a divorce or SAPCR action is to file a petition with the court immediately. This is not always the recommended path, however, if a successful case strategy is to work. 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 non-emergency 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.

On the other hand, if a new client comes to us in response to being served first, we will file an answer on their behalf and possibly a counterpetition, requesting that the opposition’s relief be denied and that the court granted our client’s requests. We always try to learn about our client’s needs and proclivities to develop a complete case strategy and direction. As each case progresses, our team often discovers additional issues that our client may not have been aware of or even anticipated, which might impact their case. Such observations include viewing the opposition’s response and even the attorney they hire. Our firm has the distinct advantage of having interacted with dozens of opposing attorneys and judges over the years. Quite truthfully, the fact that we know how they often react in certain situations, as well as how certain judges may respond regarding specific facts, is immensely beneficial for our clients. Timing A Texas divorce can legally be concluded after 60 days have passed since the filing of the original divorce petition. This 60-day waiting period is required even when the divorcing couple initially agrees upon everything. This is a statutory waiting period established in the Texas Family Code. Most divorces take longer, especially if the parties are disputing issues or if information needs to be uncovered through what is called the discovery process. A SACPR, on the other hand, if agreed, can be filed, and then an executed agreed order could immediately be submitted for the court to sign.


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). Texas merely requires that one or both parties believe that the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and that there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. 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 Web site. 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.


A necessary legal tool that Izzo & Associates can utilize to glean evidence needed to advance or complete our client’s cases involves conducting various forms of discovery. Our attorneys are 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 can conserve time and costs for our clients to accomplish a divorce that can be settled by other means.