D. Limitations on Standing

1. Limitations on Standing

Except as provided by Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006(b) and Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006(c), if the parent-child relationship between the child and every living parent of the child has been terminated, an original suit may not be filed by:

•   A former parent whose parent-child relationship has been terminated by court order;

•   The father of the child; or

•   A family member or relative by blood, adoption, or marriage of either a former parent whose parent-child relationship has been terminated or the father of the child. Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006(a).

The limitations on filing suit imposed by Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006 do not apply to a person who:

•   Has a continuing right to possession of or access to the child under an existing court order; or

•   Has the consent of the child’s managing conservator, guardian, or legal custodian to bring the suit. Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006(b).

The limitations on filing suit imposed by Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006 do not apply to an adult sibling of the child, a grandparent of the child, an aunt who is the sister of a parent of the child, or an uncle who is the brother of a parent of the child if the adult sibling, grandparent, aunt, or uncle files an original suit or a suit for modification requesting managing conservatorship of the child not later than the 90th day after the date the parent-child relationship between the child and the parent is terminated. Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006(c).

Courts have affirmed that Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006(c) serves to limit the standing of particular individuals when the parent-child relationship has been terminated; it does not confer standing. (In re N.A.D., 397 S.W.3d 747 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 2013, no pet.)) and (L.H. v. Texas Dep’t of Family and Protective Services, No. 03-13-00348-CV (Tex. App. – Austin Mar. 6, 2014, no pet.)).

Special Issue: Tex. Fam. Code § 102.006(c) may have practical effects for judges:

•   Narrows the class of individuals who would otherwise have standing to file an original proceeding for modification or adoption.

•   Restricts time period for filing.

•   Note that the legal avenues for adoption and modification may impose obstacles even to those who have standing and who file within 90 days.

2. Consequences of Missing 90-Day Deadline

Even parties who would otherwise have standing will lose that standing if they fail to file their petition for custody or adoption within 90 days.

Petition to adopt children by aunt with substantial past contact filed 7 months after parental rights were terminated was barred by Section 102.006(c) because it had not been filed within 90 days of the termination order. (In re A.M., 312 S.W.3d 76 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 2010, pet. denied)).