In addition attorney’s fees in a divorce, the court has authority under Texas law to award attorney’s fees to one side or the other in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (or “SAPCR”).
A Texas court can enter temporary orders for payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses in a SAPCR (including divorce cases with children and modification cases). But the fees must be for “the safety and welfare of the child”. Attorney fees for the safety and welfare of the child can also be awarded as temporary orders during an appeal.
Texas courts have the ability to award attorney’s fees in SAPCR cases as “necessaries” for the child and in suits to adjudicate parentage.
In a modification case, you can request attorney’s fees from the other side if the court determines that the modification suit was filed frivolously or designed to harass the other party. Likewise, attorney’s fees can be ordered against a party who knowingly makes a false allegation of child abuse or neglect in a SAPCR.
Finally, attorney’s fees can be ordered in suits brought for the enforcement of prior orders for child support or of possession of or access to a child.
Check back next week for part 4 where I will focus on awards of attorney’s fees as sanctions.