How to Apply for Temporary Custody in Texas

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The state of Texas allows parents, guardians or other relatives the right to pursue temporary custodial rights in the best interest of minor children or incapacitated individuals who need immediate guardianship. The court must be presented with substantial proof, however, that immediate custody is in order. To proceed with the filing, Texas laws require that you follow specific procedures and instructions, either with or without an attorney, in order to legally petition for temporary custody.

Non-Voluntary Custody Application

Pick up a "Application for Temporary Guardianship" form from a clerk at the local probate court in which you reside or online at the county court website. Note that this application is necessary in order to apply and start the process of gaining temporary custody in Texas.

Complete the "Application for Temporary Guardianship" form in its entirety. State why it is in the best interest of the child or individual to be placed in your custody. Keep in mind that in Texas, the court will base the best interest of children according to the living situations of the caretakers, the length of residency, physical and mental health, income and past roles as the primary caretaker of the child.

An attorney ad litem is assigned to represent the minor's interest. Cost to file at the county court is $380 while filing at the courts of law is $395. Motions are served to the ward and all custodial parties.

Hearings are mandatory. Hearings will take place within 10 days of filing the motion, not to be postponed for more than 30 days.

Voluntary Guardianship Assignment

Not all custody assignments are assigned by the courts. An Application for Temporary Guardianship is common when parents are out of town, ill or otherwise unable to fulfill all parental duties. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other close family members voluntarily care for minors. A Texas Kincare Primer is a booklet helping family members with federal and state legal and financial resources in assuming temporary custody of a minor.

The authorization agreement is not court approved and only needs to be notarized by the parent and the temporary guardian. Temporary authorization is revocable at any time. In cases of divorce, the signing parent must mail a copy of the agreement to the non-signing parent. Court approval is only required if the temporary guardianship affects current custody orders.


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Leigh Egan, a professional writer since 2000, has vast experience within academic research, journalism and web writing. She has written for and various other websites, and works as a staff writer and a freelance journalist. Egan majored in English at Kennesaw State University and holds a certification in creative writing and grant writing.