LEGAL LINGO: SAPCR = Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship under the Texas Family Code  
A legal action for modification of custody, visitation or child support is initiated by filing a
Petition for Modification or Motion
to Modify
a prior order in SAPCR proceeding. Child custody is called managing conservatorship in Texas. Joint custody is
joint managing converatorship (JMC), as opposed to sole managing conservatorship (JMC) and possessory
conservatorship (PC)
with possession and access aka visitation.

MODIFICATION OF CUSTODY OR VISITATION: A petitioner can obtain modification of an order that provides for the
appointment of a conservator for a child or provides the terms and conditions of conservatorship if the petitioner
demonstrates that modification would be in the best interest of the child and that the circumstances of the child, a
conservator, or other party affected by the order have "materially and substantially changed" since the date of the rendition of
the order. Id. § 156.101 (Vernon Supp. 2008). The party seeking modification has the burden to establish these elements by
a preponderance of the evidence. Zeifman v. Michels, 212 S.W.3d 582, 589 (Tex. App.--Austin 2006, pet. denied); Agraz v.
Carnley, 143 S.W.3d 547, 552 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2004, no pet.).

Recent appellate domestic relations decisions from Houston appeals courts:
Modification of prior order in SAPCR
(Suit affecting the parent-child relationship)

If Notice of Appeal is filed late, court of appeal will generally dismiss
Martin v. Martin ((Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Jun. 25, 2009)
(Opinion by Bland)(notice of appeal in SAPCR proceeding untimely, appeal dismissed for want of
jurisdiction, appellate  timetable and deadline to perfect appeal)
Justice Bland     
Panel members: Justices Keyes, Hanks and Bland   
01-09-00136-CV Mayuko Saeki Martin v. Timothy E. Martin   
Appeal from 328th District Court of Fort Bend County

In the Interest of ALE (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 12, 2009)(Sullivan)
SAPCR modification suit, supervised visitation, alcohol)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Justice Sullivan  
Before Justices Brock Yates, Guzman and Sullivan
14-07-00329-CV  In the Interest of A.L.E.
Appeal from 245th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court
Judge: Judge Annette Kuntz  

In Interest of DCM, LGM (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Sep. 9, 2008)(Hedges)
(SAPCR modification,
mischaracterization of attorney's fees as child support corrected)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Chief Justice Hedges  
Before Price, Chief Justice Hedges, Justice Boyce
14-06-00844-CV In the Interest of D.C.M. and L.G.M
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County
Trial Court Judge: Robert J. Kern

Trial Court Rulings affirmed in two appeals from modification cases

McLane v. McLane (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 20, 2007)(Hanks)
(SAPCR, MTM motion to modify
child support, voluntary underemployment)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Hanks
Before Justices Taft, Hanks and Higley
01-06-00634-CV Michael McLane v. Sandra Helene McLane
Appeal from 309th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Frank Rynd)

McMichael v. McMichael (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 13, 2007)(Jennings)
child support increase)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Jennings
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Keyes
01-06-01037-CV Henry Cleburne McMichael, IV v. Jackie McMichael
Appeal from 311th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Doug Warne)

Grandparent Gets Custody of Kids in Parents' Divorce - Court of Appeals affirms managing
conservatorship to
grandparents notwithstanding presumption that favors natural parents

Father given custody - mother had anger problems - Court of Appeals affirms

Cain v. Cain (Tex.App - Houston [14th Dist.] Nov. 29, 2007)(Anderson)(divorce, SAPCR, primary
conservatorship, domestic violence, anger issues, alcohol,
Holley v. Adams factors)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Anderson
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Anderson and Seymore
14-07-00115-CV Carla Ruth Cain v. Anthony Wilfred Cain
Appeal from 25th District Court of Colorado County (Hon. Dwight E. Peschel)

Sole custody to father reversed where father had not requested sole managing

Baltzer v. Medina (Tex.App- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 25, 2007)(per curiam)(SAPCR, motion to modify)
Before Judge Sears, Justices Frost and Seymore
14-05-01271-CV Trudie Lynne Baltzer v. Larry Ruiz Medina
Appeal from 310th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Lisa Millard)
Trial court erred in naming Larry as sole managing conservator and in not continuing the conservatorship
with Larry and Lynne serving as joint managing conservators. Attorney's fees award also reversed.

Intervening grandparents prevail over natural parent in seeking conservatorship of
grandchildren - court of appeals affirms

Heiskell v. Kendrick (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 26, 2007)(Hedges)(SAPCR, grandparents)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Chief Justice Hedges
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Frost and Guzman
14-06-00972-CV Brian K. Heiskell v. Kennith and Sheri Kendrick
Appeal from
311th District Court of Harris County (name of judge omitted from docket, Hon. Warne?)

In Interest of A.A.M. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] May 31, 2007)(Guzman)
[family law, SAPCR, MTM, father custody]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Justice Guzman
Before Justices Anderson, Hudson and Guzman
14-05-00740-CV In the Interest of A.A.M and C.E.M., Minor Children
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Linda Motheral)  

Mandatory Venue in Family Law Case enforced by Mandamus

In re Wilson (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Apr. 26, 2007)(Hanks)
venue, motion for transfer of venue, MTV, family law, children six month residency, venue
court of continuing jurisdiction]
Justice Hanks
Before Justices Taft, Alcala and Hanks
01-07-00013-CV        In re Ronnie D. Wilson
Appeal from 245th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Annette Galik)

Monk v. Pomberg (Tex.App. - Houston [1st. Dist.] Mar. 29, 2007)(Alcala)(subst. opinion  on motion for
rehearing) (
UDJA, divorce, SAPCR, pro se litigants)  
SAPCR Modification Case Law
from the
Houston Courts of Appeals
Houston Opinions
Houston Family District Courts and
Family Court Judges in the Harris
County Family Law Center
(photo above)

245th District Court     Judge Annette Galik n/k/a Kuntz
246th District Court     Judge Jim York
247th District Court     Judge Bonnie Crane Hellums
257th District Court     Judge Judy Warne
308th District Court     Judge Georgia Dempster
309th District Court     Judge Frank B. Rynd
310th District Court     Judge Lisa Millard
311th District Court     Judge Doug Warne
312th District Court     Judge Robert Hinojosa

Located at 1115 Congress Ave. - Houston, TX 77002

Other Houston Courts and Judges
Family Law Center in Downtown Houston, Texas

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