In In re H.S., the Supreme Court of Texas held that a nonparent has standing to pursue a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR) even when the child’s parents have not wholly relinquished their parental rights and responsibilities. In its holding, the court declared that granting nonparent standing under Texas Family Code § 102.003(a)(9) “to persons ‘who have played an unusual and significant parent-like role in a child’s life’ . . . does not unconstitutionally interfere with parents’ fundamental liberty interest in raising their children.” The court decided to use the statutory interpretation of § 102.003(a)(9) outlined in Jasek v. Texas Department of Family & Protective Services to reach its holding in In re H.S. In favor of the Jasek interpretation, the court used its authority to resolve the split among the Texas courts of appeals by discounting the valid arguments of particular courts of appeals, as well as by emphasizing the United States Supreme Court’s recognition of the “fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” The court erred in its holding because the fundamental right of parents requires a parent to relinquish their parental rights under § 102.003(a)(9) before a nonparent may assert standing.
Madison Bertrand, Case Note, Standing in the Way of Parental Rights—The Texas Supreme Court Resolves Courts of Appeals Split in Favor of Nonparents, 73 SMU L. Rev. F. 10 (2020).
Further Related Reads
- Anna K. Teller & Donald E. Teller Jr., Family Law, 5 SMU Ann. Tex. Surv. 131 (2019).
- Margaret Ryznar, A Curious Parental Right, 71 SMU L. Rev. 127 (2018).