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Child Custody & SupportFamily Law

When Child Endangerment Occurs Can You Get Custody?

By March 11, 2024March 26th, 2024No Comments

If you have a relationship with a child whom you love, you may find it impossible to stand by and witness child endangerment. Your heart may yearn for an opportunity to provide that child with a safe home where they feel comfortable and protected. You may be asking yourself: when child endangerment occurs, can I get custody? What are my rights when the abuse is significant and I fear the child will experience serious damage?

In this blog, the C.E. Borman team explores the legal landscape of child endangerment cases and the options available to those seeking custody of a child in their life.

What is Considered Child Endangerment in Bryan, Texas?

According to Texas law, child endangerment occurs when a person knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly engages in behavior that places a child no more than 15 years old in danger of death, serious injury, or physical or mental impairment.

Every year, thousands of reports of child abuse and neglect are made in Texas. In 2022, the Department of Family and Protective Services and the Office of Child Safety’s annual report revealed that 182 children died due to abuse and neglect. These cases take on various forms of physical and mental abuse, emotional trauma, and neglectful supervision, leaving lasting scars on the victims.

Texas law has protections in place for victims of child abuse, neglect, or endangerment, including not awarding perpetrators of child endangerment full or joint custody. Above all, the child’s best interests are the priority of the court.

Child Endangerment: Filing a SAPCR

SAPCR stands for Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. Under certain conditions, you can file a SAPCR. The purpose of a SAPCR would be to gain conservatorship (custody) of a child when the child is under threat of child endangerment. In Texas, the child’s natural parents have firm rights to the conservatorship of their own child. To overcome this right, the individual seeking conservatorship must prove that the parent seriously endangers the child, or the child was significantly harmed or is at risk of serious harm by staying with the parent or parents.

Under the Texas Family Code, the suit begins with the party filing a petition to the court.

Who Can File a SAPCR in Texas?

Fourteen different categories of people have the legal right to file a SAPCR, and they include:

  • A child’s parent
  • The child through a court-authorized representative
  • A custodian or person given visitation rights with access to the child based on a court of another state or country
  • A guardian of the child or of the estate of the child
  • A government entity
  • A licensed child placement agency
  • A man alleging to be the child’s father
  • A person (not referring to a foster parent) who had care, control and possession of the child for the previous six months
  • A person designated as managing conservator
  • A person with whom the child and the child’s guardian, managing conservator or parent have resided with for at least six months
  • A foster parent who had the child placed in his/her home for at least 12 months
    If parents are deceased, a child’s relative with a blood relationship of first, second or third degree (third degrees is uncles/aunts, nieces/nephews, great grandparents, great grandchildren)
  • A person named as a prospective adoptive parent of a child by a pregnant woman or parent of the child
  • A person who intends to become a parent of a child or unborn child through a gestational agreement. 

Contact a Child Custody Attorney in Bryan, Texas

If you have concerns about a child’s welfare and your ability to seek custody, our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates can provide you with trusted legal advice. We have decades of experience fighting to protect children’s lives and are dedicated to achieving the best outcome possible.

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