Like any other area of law, standing is required to bring a lawsuit. Standing is a fundamental part of the legal system in that it determines who has the right to initiate legal action and participate in court proceedings. In other words, it limits the participation in a suit to the parties who are actually relevant. Otherwise, any and every one would be able to intervene in a divorce or custody case. The law is very clear on the issue, if a party does not have standing then their case will be dismissed.

In the context of family law, standing revolves around the question of whether an individual has a sufficient connection or interest in the case to justify their involvement. When it comes to the issue of divorce it is fairly straightforward. A divorce case can be brought by either spouse. That means that if your in-laws don’t like you, you don’t need to worry about them filing for divorce on your spouse’s behalf.

Issues of standing usually arise in child custody suits. Parents generally have standing to pursue legal action related to child custody, visitation, and support, as they have a significant interest in the well-being of their children. Mothers have standing as soon as the child is born. Fathers (in cases where they aren’t presumed to be the father) must first establish paternity before they have standing. Other parties may also have standing to bring a suit regarding children, but they must first clear a few hurdles.

The Texas Family Code has a long list of who can file an original suit under § 102.003. One of the people on this list is a guardian of the person or estate of the child. This, as you can imagine, is similar to a parent filing the lawsuit because it is the child’s legal guardian. Another is a governmental entity or the Department of Family and Protective Services. This situation could arise if Child Protective Services receives a report and finds reason to have the children removed from the parents. This statute gives them standing to petition the Court so that they have the legal right to remove the children.

The code also provide standing for, 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. An example of this situation could be one where one parent is in jail, and another parent has serious substance abuse issues. If the children have been living with, and raised by their uncle for a period of 6 months, the uncle can file suit with the court to get primary custody.

Understanding the concept of standing is crucial for anyone involved in a family law matter in Texas. Without standing, individuals risk having their case dismissed by the court, leaving them without recourse to address their concerns. It is essential to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can assess your situation and determine whether you have standing to pursue legal action.