Who Can File Suit for Custody? General Standing.
Not every person has legal standing (right) to bring a lawsuit in a child custody suit. Under the Texas Family Code, there are general standing to file or initiate a suit.
Who may file an original suit? Generally, there are approximately 15 criteria according to section 102.003:
(1) a parent of the child;
(2) the child through a representative authorized by the court;
(3) a custodian or person having the right of visitation with or access to the child appointed by an order of a court of another state or country;
(4) a guardian of the person or of the estate of the child;
(5) a governmental entity;
(6) the Department of Family and Protective Services;
(7) a licensed child placing agency;
(8) a man alleging himself to be the father of a child filing in accordance with Chapter 160 (adjudicated father, presumed father, or donor e.t.c.), with some limitations;
(9) a person, other than a foster parent, who has had actual care, control, and possession of the child for at least six months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition;
(10) a person designated as the managing conservator in a revoked or unrevoked affidavit of relinquishment under Chapter 161 or to whom consent to adoption has been given in writing under Chapter 162;
(11) a person with whom the child and the child’s guardian, managing conservator, or parent have resided for at least six months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition if the child’s guardian, managing conservator, or parent is deceased at the time of the filing of the petition;
(12) a person who is the foster parent of a child placed by the Department of Family and Protective Services in the person’s home for at least 12 months; it must not have ended more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition;
(13) a person who is a relative of the child within the third degree by consanguinity, as determined by Chapter 573, Government Code, if the child’s parents are deceased at the time of the filing of the petition;
(14) a person who has been named as a prospective adoptive parent of a child by a pregnant woman or the parent of the child, in a verified written statement to confer standing executed under Section 102.0035, regardless of whether the child has been born; or
(15) subject to Subsection (d), a person who is an intended parent of a child or unborn child under a gestational agreement (and complying).
(b) In computing the time necessary for standing under Subsections (a)(9), (11), and (12), the court may not require that the time be continuous and uninterrupted but shall consider the child’s principal residence during the relevant time preceding the date of commencement of the suit.
(c) Notwithstanding the time requirements of Subsection (a)(12), a person who is the foster parent of a child may file a suit to adopt a child for whom the person is providing foster care at any time after the person has been approved to adopt the child. The standing to file suit under this subsection applies only to the adoption of a child who is eligible to be adopted.
(d) A person described by Subsection (a)(15) has standing to file an original suit only if:
(1) the person is filing an original suit jointly with the other intended parent under the gestational agreement; or
(2) the person is filing an original suit against the other intended parent under the gestational agreement.