It can be very difficult for a non-parent to get custody of a child in Texas custody cases. A presumptive father may, however, have an advantage over other non-parents. In a recent case, the appeals court found a presumptive father did not have to establish non-parent standing even though the court adjudicated someone else as the child’s father.
The biological father challenged the order appointing him, the child’s mother, and the mother’s former husband joint managing conservators with the stepfather having the right to establish the child’s residence. The biological father had intervened in the divorce proceeding between the mother and her husband. Although the trial court adjudicated him as the child’s father, it gave custody to the stepfather, who also got custody of his own two children.
The father questioned the stepfather’s standing under Section 102.004 of the Texas Family Code, which provides that a grandparent or other person may not file an original suit for conservatorship, but may intervene in a pending suit if there is proof appointment of a parent or the parents as managing conservator(s) “would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.”