IIO T.R.H., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 3501 (Tex. App. – Beaumont May 17, 2018)

This is a cautionary tale out of the Beaumont Court of Appeals.  In a SAPCR the Mother and Father agreed that the paternal grandmother would have possession of the child for two weeks each summer and allow her the right of first refusal if the child needed daycare. The paternal grandmother was not a party to the SAPCR.

Things clearly did not go well, as the mother filed a petition to modify the order.  The petition named the paternal grandmother as a party.  The paternal grandmother filed her own suit seeking to enforce the possession periods. The mother challenged the paternal grandmother’s standing and the trial court agreed that she did not have standing and the possession and access she had in the original order was void.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and found that the paternal grandmother had standing under TFC 156.002 because she was a party affected by the order.  The Court further found that because the mother has named the paternal grandmother as a party in the original suit she had waived her right to challenge standing.

My takeaway is be careful about allowing non-parties any access in your possession order because you will open yourself up to a lawsuit in the future.  One also wonders if it’s wise to reference any 3rd party in a possession order.   It is not uncommon for possession orders to make some reference to third parties.  If a person’s name is in the possession order do they then have standing for all purposes in the future?