Brandon Young Bell

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Phone: (972) 668-1462
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Address: 38 1st Street NW, Paris, Texas 75460

Parent-Child Relationship

The parent-child relationship is a legal relationship between a child and the child's parents. This relationship creates a right of physical possession of the child, the right to inherit from and through the child, the power to make decisions of legal significance concerning the child, and the duties of care, control, protection, and support of the child.
If divorcing spouses in Texas are the parents of one or more minor children, then as part of the divorce, issues involving custody or support of the children will be included (or joined) in the divorce suit. However, parents do not have to be married to bring a cause of action to determine issues involving children. A cause of action to determine issues affecting a child is called a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. Whether in connection with a divorce or as a separate action as with unmarried parents (and sometimes other parties), the following issues can be determined:


Additionally, the issues of adoption, paternity, and termination of parental rights can be dealt with in a separate suit affecting a child. In these cases that determine issues involving children, a general set of rules are used by the Courts as outlined in the Texas Family Code. These general rules will apply to a case whether in connection with a divorce or as a stand-alone suit.
To better explain this, consider the following two examples:

1) A married woman with a newborn child decides to divorce the father. She may file for divorce and as part of the divorce suit, she will ask for custody of the child and for child support from her husband, the father of her child. With regard to child support, the court will determine "guideline child support" using one of the "general rules" in suits involving children.
2) An unmarried woman with a newborn child and no support from the biological father decides to ask a Court to order child support from the known father. The woman may file a Paternity Suit to legally determine the father of the child and in the same suit she will ask the Court to order the biological father to pay child support. This suit will be governed by the "general rules" for suits involving children, including the same rules to determine "guideline child support" as in a suit for divorce.

These rules governing suits involving children are extensive and often complicated, making competent legal counsel very important when dealing with these issues. The laws governing these suits include, but are not limited to, rules for who can file suit, where suit can be filed, how orders can be modified, and how orders can be enforced.

Common among suits involving children is the concept of a court's continuing, exclusive, jurisdiction of a child. This means that once a court makes a final order concerning a child, that court will retain jurisdiction, and no other Texas court has jurisdiction of a suit with regard to that child except on transfer under the rules. Exceptions may be made for emergencies, and legal counsel should be sought before reliance on any of the contents of this website.

Brandon Young Bell

Areas of Practice
  • Family Law