Texas Family Code

As effective September 1, 2019

Title 2

Subtitle A

Chapter 31

Sec. 31.001: Requirements

(a) A minor may petition to have the disabilities of minority removed for limited or general purposes if the minor is:

(1) a resident of this state;

(2) 17 years of age, or at least 16 years of age and living separate and apart from the minor's parents, managing conservator, or guardian; and

(3) self-supporting and managing the minor's own financial affairs.

(b) A minor may file suit under this chapter in the minor's own name. The minor need not be represented by next friend.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 31.002: Requisites of Petition; Verification

(a) The petition for removal of disabilities of minority must state:

(1) the name, age, and place of residence of the petitioner;

(2) the name and place of residence of each living parent;

(3) the name and place of residence of the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate, if any;

(4) the name and place of residence of the managing conservator, if any;

(5) the reasons why removal would be in the best interest of the minor; and

(6) the purposes for which removal is requested.

(b) A parent of the petitioner must verify the petition, except that if a managing conservator or guardian of the person has been appointed, the petition must be verified by that person. If the person who is to verify the petition is unavailable or that person's whereabouts are unknown, the amicus attorney or attorney ad litem shall verify the petition.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 172 (H.B. 307), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 31.003: Venue

The petitioner shall file the petition in the county in which the petitioner resides.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 31.004: Representation of Petitioner

The court shall appoint an amicus attorney or attorney ad litem to represent the interest of the petitioner at the hearing.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 172 (H.B. 307), Sec. 14, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 31.005: Order

The court by order, or the Texas Supreme Court by rule or order, may remove the disabilities of minority of a minor, including any restriction imposed by Chapter 32, if the court or the Texas Supreme Court finds the removal to be in the best interest of the petitioner. The order or rule must state the limited or general purposes for which disabilities are removed.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1303, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 31.006: Effect of General Removal

Except for specific constitutional and statutory age requirements, a minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes has the capacity of an adult, including the capacity to contract. Except as provided by federal law, all educational rights accorded to the parent of a student, including the right to make education decisions under Section 151.001(a)(10), transfer to the minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 767, Sec. 9, eff. June 13, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1236 (S.B. 1296), Sec. 7.001, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 31.007: Registration of Order of Another State Or Nation

(a) A nonresident minor who has had the disabilities of minority removed in the state of the minor's residence may file a certified copy of the order removing disabilities in the deed records of any county in this state.

(b) When a certified copy of the order of a court of another state or nation is filed, the minor has the capacity of an adult, except as provided by Section 31.006 and by the terms of the order.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 31.008: Waiver of Citation

(a) A party to a suit under this chapter may waive the issuance or service of citation after the suit is filed by filing with the clerk of the court in which the suit is filed the waiver of the party acknowledging receipt of a copy of the filed petition.

(b) The party executing the waiver may not sign the waiver using a digitized signature.

(c) The waiver must contain the mailing address of the party executing the waiver.

(d) The waiver must be sworn before a notary public who is not an attorney in the suit or conform to the requirements for an unsworn declaration under Section 132.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code. This subsection does not apply if the party executing the waiver is incarcerated.

(e) The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to a waiver executed under this section.

(f) For purposes of this section, "digitized signature" has the meaning assigned by Section 101.0096.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 198 (S.B. 814), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 606 (S.B. 891), Sec. 11.01, eff. September 1, 2019.

Chapter 32

Subchapter A

Sec. 32.001: Consent By Non-Parent

(a) The following persons may consent to medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment of a child when the person having the right to consent as otherwise provided by law cannot be contacted and that person has not given actual notice to the contrary:

(1) a grandparent of the child;

(2) an adult brother or sister of the child;

(3) an adult aunt or uncle of the child;

(4) an educational institution in which the child is enrolled that has received written authorization to consent from a person having the right to consent;

(5) an adult who has actual care, control, and possession of the child and has written authorization to consent from a person having the right to consent;

(6) a court having jurisdiction over a suit affecting the parent-child relationship of which the child is the subject;

(7) an adult responsible for the actual care, control, and possession of a child under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court or committed by a juvenile court to the care of an agency of the state or county; or

(8) a peace officer who has lawfully taken custody of a minor, if the peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe the minor is in need of immediate medical treatment.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department may consent to the medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment of a child committed to the department under Title 3 when the person having the right to consent has been contacted and that person has not given actual notice to the contrary. Consent for medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment of a child for whom the Department of Family and Protective Services has been appointed managing conservator and who is committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department is governed by Sections 266.004, 266.009, and 266.010.

(c) This section does not apply to consent for the immunization of a child.

(d) A person who consents to the medical treatment of a minor under Subsection (a)(7) or (8) is immune from liability for damages resulting from the examination or treatment of the minor, except to the extent of the person's own acts of negligence. A physician or dentist licensed to practice in this state, or a hospital or medical facility at which a minor is treated is immune from liability for damages resulting from the examination or treatment of a minor under this section, except to the extent of the person's own acts of negligence.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 108 (H.B. 1629), Sec. 1, eff. May 23, 2009.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 734 (H.B. 1549), Sec. 37, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 32.002: Consent Form

(a) Consent to medical treatment under this subchapter must be in writing, signed by the person giving consent, and given to the doctor, hospital, or other medical facility that administers the treatment.

(b) The consent must include:

(1) the name of the child;

(2) the name of one or both parents, if known, and the name of any managing conservator or guardian of the child;

(3) the name of the person giving consent and the person's relationship to the child;

(4) a statement of the nature of the medical treatment to be given; and

(5) the date the treatment is to begin.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 32.003: Consent to Treatment By Child

(a) A child may consent to medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment for the child by a licensed physician or dentist if the child:

(1) is on active duty with the armed services of the United States of America;

(2) is:

(A) 16 years of age or older and resides separate and apart from the child's parents, managing conservator, or guardian, with or without the consent of the parents, managing conservator, or guardian and regardless of the duration of the residence; and

(B) managing the child's own financial affairs, regardless of the source of the income;

(3) consents to the diagnosis and treatment of an infectious, contagious, or communicable disease that is required by law or a rule to be reported by the licensed physician or dentist to a local health officer or the Texas Department of Health, including all diseases within the scope of Section 81.041, Health and Safety Code;

(4) is unmarried and pregnant and consents to hospital, medical, or surgical treatment, other than abortion, related to the pregnancy;

(5) consents to examination and treatment for drug or chemical addiction, drug or chemical dependency, or any other condition directly related to drug or chemical use;

(6) is unmarried, is the parent of a child, and has actual custody of his or her child and consents to medical, dental, psychological, or surgical treatment for the child; or

(7) is serving a term of confinement in a facility operated by or under contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, unless the treatment would constitute a prohibited practice under Section 164.052(a)(19), Occupations Code.

(b) Consent by a child to medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment under this section is not subject to disaffirmance because of minority.

(c) Consent of the parents, managing conservator, or guardian of a child is not necessary in order to authorize hospital, medical, surgical, or dental care under this section.

(d) A licensed physician, dentist, or psychologist may, with or without the consent of a child who is a patient, advise the parents, managing conservator, or guardian of the child of the treatment given to or needed by the child.

(e) A physician, dentist, psychologist, hospital, or medical facility is not liable for the examination and treatment of a child under this section except for the provider's or the facility's own acts of negligence.

(f) A physician, dentist, psychologist, hospital, or medical facility may rely on the written statement of the child containing the grounds on which the child has capacity to consent to the child's medical treatment.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 821, Sec. 2.01, eff. June 14, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1227 (H.B. 2389), Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2007.

Sec. 32.004: Consent to Counseling

(a) A child may consent to counseling for:

(1) suicide prevention;

(2) chemical addiction or dependency; or

(3) sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.

(b) A licensed or certified physician, psychologist, counselor, or social worker having reasonable grounds to believe that a child has been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused, is contemplating suicide, or is suffering from a chemical or drug addiction or dependency may:

(1) counsel the child without the consent of the child's parents or, if applicable, managing conservator or guardian;

(2) with or without the consent of the child who is a client, advise the child's parents or, if applicable, managing conservator or guardian of the treatment given to or needed by the child; and

(3) rely on the written statement of the child containing the grounds on which the child has capacity to consent to the child's own treatment under this section.

(c) Unless consent is obtained as otherwise allowed by law, a physician, psychologist, counselor, or social worker may not counsel a child if consent is prohibited by a court order.

(d) A physician, psychologist, counselor, or social worker counseling a child under this section is not liable for damages except for damages resulting from the person's negligence or wilful misconduct.

(e) A parent, or, if applicable, managing conservator or guardian, who has not consented to counseling treatment of the child is not obligated to compensate a physician, psychologist, counselor, or social worker for counseling services rendered under this section.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 32.005: Examination Without Consent of Abuse Or Neglect of Child

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a physician, dentist, or psychologist having reasonable grounds to believe that a child's physical or mental condition has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect may examine the child without the consent of the child, the child's parents, or other person authorized to consent to treatment under this subchapter.

(b) An examination under this section may include X-rays, blood tests, photographs, and penetration of tissue necessary to accomplish those tests.

(c) Unless consent is obtained as otherwise allowed by law, a physician, dentist, or psychologist may not examine a child:

(1) 16 years of age or older who refuses to consent; or

(2) for whom consent is prohibited by a court order.

(d) A physician, dentist, or psychologist examining a child under this section is not liable for damages except for damages resulting from the physician's or dentist's negligence.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 575, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Subchapter B

Sec. 32.101: Who May Consent to Immunization of Child

(a) In addition to persons authorized to consent to immunization under Chapter 151 and Chapter 153, the following persons may consent to the immunization of a child:

(1) a guardian of the child; and

(2) a person authorized under the law of another state or a court order to consent for the child.

(b) If the persons listed in Subsection (a) are not available and the authority to consent is not denied under Subsection (c), consent to the immunization of a child may be given by:

(1) a grandparent of the child;

(2) an adult brother or sister of the child;

(3) an adult aunt or uncle of the child;

(4) a stepparent of the child;

(5) an educational institution in which the child is enrolled that has written authorization to consent for the child from a parent, managing conservator, guardian, or other person who under the law of another state or a court order may consent for the child;

(6) another adult who has actual care, control, and possession of the child and has written authorization to consent for the child from a parent, managing conservator, guardian, or other person who, under the law of another state or a court order, may consent for the child;

(7) a court having jurisdiction of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship of which the minor is the subject;

(8) an adult having actual care, control, and possession of the child under an order of a juvenile court or by commitment by a juvenile court to the care of an agency of the state or county; or

(9) an adult having actual care, control, and possession of the child as the child's primary caregiver.

(c) A person otherwise authorized to consent under Subsection (a) may not consent for the child if the person has actual knowledge that a parent, managing conservator, guardian of the child, or other person who under the law of another state or a court order may consent for the child:

(1) has expressly refused to give consent to the immunization;

(2) has been told not to consent for the child; or

(3) has withdrawn a prior written authorization for the person to consent.

(d) The Texas Juvenile Justice Department may consent to the immunization of a child committed to it if a parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the minor or other person who, under the law of another state or court order, may consent for the minor has been contacted and:

(1) refuses to consent; and

(2) does not expressly deny to the department the authority to consent for the child.

(e) A person who consents under this section shall provide the health care provider with sufficient and accurate health history and other information about the minor for whom the consent is given and, if necessary, sufficient and accurate health history and information about the minor's family to enable the person who may consent to the minor's immunization and the health care provider to determine adequately the risks and benefits inherent in the proposed immunization and to determine whether immunization is advisable.

(f) Consent to immunization must meet the requirements of Section 32.002(a).

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.09(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 6.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 734 (H.B. 1549), Sec. 38, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 32.1011: Consent to Immunization By Child

(a) Notwithstanding Section 32.003 or 32.101, a child may consent to the child's own immunization for a disease if:

(1) the child:

(A) is pregnant; or

(B) is the parent of a child and has actual custody of that child; and

(2) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend or authorize the initial dose of an immunization for that disease to be administered before seven years of age.

(b) Consent to immunization under this section must meet the requirements of Section 32.002(a).

(c) Consent by a child to immunization under this section is not subject to disaffirmance because of minority.

(d) A health care provider or facility may rely on the written statement of the child containing the grounds on which the child has capacity to consent to the child's immunization under this section.

(e) To the extent of any conflict between this section and Section 32.003, this section controls.

Comments

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1313 (S.B. 63), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 32.102: Informed Consent to Immunization

(a) A person authorized to consent to the immunization of a child has the responsibility to ensure that the consent, if given, is an informed consent. The person authorized to consent is not required to be present when the immunization of the child is requested if a consent form that meets the requirements of Section 32.002 has been given to the health care provider.

(b) The responsibility of a health care provider to provide information to a person consenting to immunization is the same as the provider's responsibility to a parent.

(c) As part of the information given in the counseling for informed consent, the health care provider shall provide information to inform the person authorized to consent to immunization of the procedures available under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (42 U.S.C. Section 300aa-1 et seq.) to seek possible recovery for unreimbursed expenses for certain injuries arising out of the administration of certain vaccines.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 32.103 and amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.09(b), (d), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 32.103: Limited Liability for Immunization

(a) In the absence of wilful misconduct or gross negligence, a health care provider who accepts the health history and other information given by a person who is delegated the authority to consent to the immunization of a child during the informed consent counseling is not liable for an adverse reaction to an immunization or for other injuries to the child resulting from factual errors in the health history or information given by the person to the health care provider.

(b) A person consenting to immunization of a child, a physician, nurse, or other health care provider, or a public health clinic, hospital, or other medical facility is not liable for damages arising from an immunization administered to a child authorized under this subchapter except for injuries resulting from the person's or facility's own acts of negligence.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Renumbered from Sec. 32.104 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.09(e), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Subchapter C

Sec. 32.201: Emergency Shelter Or Care for Minors

(a) An emergency shelter facility may provide shelter and care to a minor and the minor's child or children, if any.

(b) An emergency shelter facility may provide shelter or care only during an emergency constituting an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the minor or the minor's child or children.

(c) Shelter or care provided under this section may not be provided after the 15th day after the date the shelter or care is commenced unless:

(1) the facility receives consent to continue services from the minor in accordance with Section 32.202; or

(2) the minor has qualified for financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, and is on the waiting list for housing assistance.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 192, Sec. 1, eff. June 2, 2003.

Sec. 32.202: Consent to Emergency Shelter Or Care By Minor

(a) A minor may consent to emergency shelter or care to be provided to the minor or the minor's child or children, if any, under Section 32.201(c) if the minor is:

(1) 16 years of age or older and:

(A) resides separate and apart from the minor's parent, managing conservator, or guardian, regardless of whether the parent, managing conservator, or guardian consents to the residence and regardless of the duration of the residence; and

(B) manages the minor's own financial affairs, regardless of the source of income; or

(2) unmarried and is pregnant or is the parent of a child.

(b) Consent by a minor to emergency shelter or care under this section is not subject to disaffirmance because of minority.

(c) An emergency shelter facility may, with or without the consent of the minor's parent, managing conservator, or guardian, provide emergency shelter or care to the minor or the minor's child or children under Section 32.201(c).

(d) An emergency shelter facility is not liable for providing emergency shelter or care to the minor or the minor's child or children if the minor consents as provided by this section, except that the facility is liable for the facility's own acts of negligence.

(e) An emergency shelter facility may rely on the minor's written statement containing the grounds on which the minor has capacity to consent to emergency shelter or care.

(f) To the extent of any conflict between this section and Section 32.003, Section 32.003 prevails.

Comments

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 192, Sec. 2, eff. June 2, 2003.

Sec. 32.203: Consent By Minor to Housing Or Care Provided Through Transitional Living Program

(a) In this section, "transitional living program" means a residential services program for children provided in a residential child-care facility licensed or certified by the Department of Family and Protective Services under Chapter 42, Human Resources Code, that:

(1) is designed to provide basic life skills training and the opportunity to practice those skills, with a goal of basic life skills development toward independent living; and

(2) is not an independent living program.

(b) A minor may consent to housing or care provided to the minor or the minor's child or children, if any, through a transitional living program if the minor is:

(1) 16 years of age or older and:

(A) resides separate and apart from the minor's parent, managing conservator, or guardian, regardless of whether the parent, managing conservator, or guardian consents to the residence and regardless of the duration of the residence; and

(B) manages the minor's own financial affairs, regardless of the source of income; or

(2) unmarried and is pregnant or is the parent of a child.

(c) Consent by a minor to housing or care under this section is not subject to disaffirmance because of minority.

(d) A transitional living program may, with or without the consent of the parent, managing conservator, or guardian, provide housing or care to the minor or the minor's child or children.

(e) A transitional living program must attempt to notify the minor's parent, managing conservator, or guardian regarding the minor's location.

(f) A transitional living program is not liable for providing housing or care to the minor or the minor's child or children if the minor consents as provided by this section, except that the program is liable for the program's own acts of negligence.

(g) A transitional living program may rely on a minor's written statement containing the grounds on which the minor has capacity to consent to housing or care provided through the program.

(h) To the extent of any conflict between this section and Section 32.003, Section 32.003 prevails.

Comments

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 587 (S.B. 717), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Chapter 33

Sec. 33.001: Definitions

In this chapter:

(1) "Abortion" has the meaning assigned by Section 245.002, Health and Safety Code. This definition, as applied in this chapter, may not be construed to limit a minor's access to contraceptives.

(2) "Fetus" means an individual human organism from fertilization until birth.

(3) "Guardian" means a court-appointed guardian of the person of the minor.

(3-a) "Medical emergency" has the meaning assigned by Section 171.002, Health and Safety Code.

(4) "Physician" means an individual licensed to practice medicine in this state.

(5) "Unemancipated minor" includes a minor who:

(A) is unmarried; and

(B) has not had the disabilities of minority removed under Chapter 31.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 2, eff. January 1, 2016.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 441 (S.B. 8), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 33.002: Parental Notice

(a) A physician may not perform an abortion on a pregnant unemancipated minor unless:

(1) the physician performing the abortion gives at least 48 hours actual notice, in person or by telephone, of the physician's intent to perform the abortion to:

(A) a parent of the minor, if the minor has no managing conservator or guardian; or

(B) a court-appointed managing conservator or guardian;

(2) the physician who is to perform the abortion receives an order issued by a court under Section 33.003 or 33.004 authorizing the minor to consent to the abortion as provided by Section 33.003 or 33.004; or

(3) the physician who is to perform the abortion:

(A) concludes that a medical emergency exists;

(B) certifies in writing to the Department of State Health Services and in the patient's medical record the medical indications supporting the physician's judgment that a medical emergency exists; and

(C) provides the notice required by Section 33.0022.

(b) If a person to whom notice may be given under Subsection (a)(1) cannot be notified after a reasonable effort, a physician may perform an abortion if the physician gives 48 hours constructive notice, by certified mail, restricted delivery, sent to the last known address, to the person to whom notice may be given under Subsection (a)(1). The period under this subsection begins when the notice is mailed. If the person required to be notified is not notified within the 48-hour period, the abortion may proceed even if the notice by mail is not received.

(c) The requirement that 48 hours actual notice be provided under this section may be waived by an affidavit of:

(1) a parent of the minor, if the minor has no managing conservator or guardian; or

(2) a court-appointed managing conservator or guardian.

(d) A physician may execute for inclusion in the minor's medical record an affidavit stating that, according to the best information and belief of the physician, notice or constructive notice has been provided as required by this section. Execution of an affidavit under this subsection creates a presumption that the requirements of this section have been satisfied.

(e) The Department of State Health Services shall prepare a form to be used for making the certification required by Subsection (a)(3)(B).

(f) A certification required by Subsection (a)(3)(B) is confidential and privileged and is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, or to discovery, subpoena, or other legal process. Personal or identifying information about the minor, including her name, address, or social security number, may not be included in a certification under Subsection (a)(3)(B). The physician must keep the medical records on the minor in compliance with the rules adopted by the Texas Medical Board under Section 153.003, Occupations Code.

(g) A physician who intentionally performs an abortion on a pregnant unemancipated minor in violation of this section commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000. In this subsection, "intentionally" has the meaning assigned by Section 6.03(a), Penal Code.

(h) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the minor falsely represented her age or identity to the physician to be at least 18 years of age by displaying an apparently valid proof of identity and age described by Subsection (k) such that a reasonable person under similar circumstances would have relied on the representation. The defense does not apply if the physician is shown to have had independent knowledge of the minor's actual age or identity or failed to use due diligence in determining the minor's age or identity. In this subsection, "defense" has the meaning and application assigned by Section 2.03, Penal Code.

(i) In relation to the trial of an offense under this section in which the conduct charged involves a conclusion made by the physician under Subsection (a)(3)(A), the defendant may seek a hearing before the Texas Medical Board on whether the physician's conduct was necessary because of a medical emergency. The findings of the Texas Medical Board under this subsection are admissible on that issue in the trial of the defendant. Notwithstanding any other reason for a continuance provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure or other law, on motion of the defendant, the court shall delay the beginning of the trial for not more than 30 days to permit a hearing under this subsection to take place.

(j) A physician shall use due diligence to determine that any woman on which the physician performs an abortion who claims to have reached the age of majority or to have had the disabilities of minority removed has, in fact, reached the age of majority or has had the disabilities of minority removed.

(k) For the purposes of this section, "due diligence" includes requesting proof of identity and age described by Section 2.005(b) or a copy of the court order removing disabilities of minority.

(l) If proof of identity and age cannot be provided, the physician shall provide information on how to obtain proof of identity and age. If the woman is subsequently unable to obtain proof of identity and age and the physician chooses to perform the abortion, the physician shall document that proof of identity and age was not obtained and report to the Department of State Health Services that proof of identity and age was not obtained for the woman on whom the abortion was performed. The department shall report annually to the legislature regarding the number of abortions performed without proof of identity and age.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.741, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.0021: Consent Required

A physician may not perform an abortion in violation of Section 164.052(a)(19), Occupations Code.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 4, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.0022: Medical Emergency Notification; Affidavit for Medical Record

(a) If the physician who is to perform the abortion concludes under Section 33.002(a)(3)(A) that a medical emergency exists and that there is insufficient time to provide the notice required by Section 33.002 or obtain the consent required by Section 33.0021, the physician shall make a reasonable effort to inform, in person or by telephone, the parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the unemancipated minor within 24 hours after the time a medical emergency abortion is performed on the minor of:

(1) the performance of the abortion; and

(2) the basis for the physician's determination that a medical emergency existed that required the performance of a medical emergency abortion without fulfilling the requirements of Section 33.002 or 33.0021.

(b) A physician who performs an abortion as described by Subsection (a), not later than 48 hours after the abortion is performed, shall send a written notice that a medical emergency occurred and the ability of the parent, managing conservator, or guardian to contact the physician for more information and medical records, to the last known address of the parent, managing conservator, or guardian by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. The physician may rely on last known address information if a reasonable and prudent person, under similar circumstances, would rely on the information as sufficient evidence that the parent, managing conservator, or guardian resides at that address. The physician shall keep in the minor's medical record:

(1) the return receipt from the written notice; or

(2) if the notice was returned as undeliverable, the notice.

(c) A physician who performs an abortion on an unemancipated minor during a medical emergency as described by Subsection (a) shall execute for inclusion in the medical record of the minor an affidavit that explains the specific medical emergency that necessitated the immediate abortion.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 4, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.003: Judicial Approval

(a) A pregnant minor may file an application for a court order authorizing the minor to consent to the performance of an abortion without notification to and consent of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian.

(b) The application must be filed in:

(1) a county court at law, court having probate jurisdiction, or district court, including a family district court, in the minor's county of residence;

(2) if the minor's parent, managing conservator, or guardian is a presiding judge of a court described by Subdivision (1):

(A) a county court at law, court having probate jurisdiction, or district court, including a family district court, in a contiguous county; or

(B) a county court at law, court having probate jurisdiction, or district court, including a family district court, in the county where the minor intends to obtain the abortion;

(3) if the minor's county of residence has a population of less than 10,000:

(A) a court described by Subdivision (1);

(B) a county court at law, court having probate jurisdiction, or district court, including a family district court, in a contiguous county; or

(C) a county court at law, court having probate jurisdiction, or district court, including a family district court, in the county in which the facility at which the minor intends to obtain the abortion is located; or

(4) a county court at law, court having probate jurisdiction, or district court, including a family district court, in the county in which the facility at which the minor intends to obtain the abortion is located, if the minor is not a resident of this state.

(c) The application must:

(1) be made under oath;

(2) include:

(A) a statement that the minor is pregnant;

(B) a statement that the minor is unmarried, is under 18 years of age, and has not had her disabilities removed under Chapter 31;

(C) a statement that the minor wishes to have an abortion without the notification to and consent of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian;

(D) a statement as to whether the minor has retained an attorney and, if she has retained an attorney, the name, address, and telephone number of her attorney; and

(E) a statement about the minor's current residence, including the minor's physical address, mailing address, and telephone number; and

(3) be accompanied by the sworn statement of the minor's attorney under Subsection (r), if the minor has retained an attorney to assist the minor with filing the application under this section.

(d) The clerk of the court shall deliver a courtesy copy of the application made under this section to the judge who is to hear the application.

(e) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor who shall represent the best interest of the minor. If the minor has not retained an attorney, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent the minor. The guardian ad litem may not also serve as the minor's attorney ad litem.

(f) The court may appoint to serve as guardian ad litem:

(1) a person who may consent to treatment for the minor under Sections 32.001(a)(1)-(3);

(2) a psychiatrist or an individual licensed or certified as a psychologist under Chapter 501, Occupations Code;

(3) an appropriate employee of the Department of Family and Protective Services;

(4) a member of the clergy; or

(5) another appropriate person selected by the court.

(g) The court shall fix a time for a hearing on an application filed under Subsection (a) and shall keep a record of all testimony and other oral proceedings in the action.

(g-1) The pregnant minor must appear before the court in person and may not appear using videoconferencing, telephone conferencing, or other remote electronic means.

(h) The court shall rule on an application submitted under this section and shall issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law not later than 5 p.m. on the fifth business day after the date the application is filed with the court. On request by the minor, the court shall grant an extension of the period specified by this subsection. If a request for an extension is made, the court shall rule on an application and shall issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law not later than 5 p.m. on the fifth business day after the date the minor states she is ready to proceed to hearing. Proceedings under this section shall be given precedence over other pending matters to the extent necessary to assure that the court reaches a decision promptly, regardless of whether the minor is granted an extension under this subsection.

(i) The court shall determine by clear and convincing evidence, as described by Section 101.007, whether:

(1) the minor is mature and sufficiently well informed to make the decision to have an abortion performed without notification to or consent of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian; or

(2) the notification and attempt to obtain consent would not be in the best interest of the minor.

(i-1) In determining whether the minor meets the requirements of Subsection (i)(1), the court shall consider the experience, perspective, and judgment of the minor. The court may:

(1) consider all relevant factors, including:

(A) the minor's age;

(B) the minor's life experiences, such as working, traveling independently, or managing her own financial affairs; and

(C) steps taken by the minor to explore her options and the consequences of those options;

(2) inquire as to the minor's reasons for seeking an abortion;

(3) consider the degree to which the minor is informed about the state-published informational materials described by Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code; and

(4) require the minor to be evaluated by a licensed mental health counselor, who shall return the evaluation to the court for review within three business days.

(i-2) In determining whether the notification and the attempt to obtain consent would not be in the best interest of the minor, the court may inquire as to:

(1) the minor's reasons for not wanting to notify and obtain consent from a parent, managing conservator, or guardian;

(2) whether notification or the attempt to obtain consent may lead to physical or sexual abuse;

(3) whether the pregnancy was the result of sexual abuse by a parent, managing conservator, or guardian; and

(4) any history of physical or sexual abuse from a parent, managing conservator, or guardian.

(i-3) The court shall enter an order authorizing the minor to consent to the performance of the abortion without notification to and consent of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian and shall execute the required forms if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence, as defined by Section 101.007, that:

(1) the minor is mature and sufficiently well informed to make the decision to have an abortion performed without notification to or consent of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian; or

(2) the notification and attempt to obtain consent would not be in the best interest of the minor.

(j) If the court finds that the minor does not meet the requirements of Subsection (i-3), the court may not authorize the minor to consent to an abortion without the notification authorized under Section 33.002(a)(1) and consent under Section 33.0021.

(k) The court may not notify a parent, managing conservator, or guardian that the minor is pregnant or that the minor wants to have an abortion. The court proceedings shall be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the identity of the minor. The application and all other court documents pertaining to the proceedings are confidential and privileged and are not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, or to discovery, subpoena, or other legal process. Confidential records pertaining to a minor under this subsection may be disclosed to the minor.

(l) An order of the court issued under this section is confidential and privileged and is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, or discovery, subpoena, or other legal process. The order may not be released to any person but the pregnant minor, the pregnant minor's guardian ad litem, the pregnant minor's attorney, the physician who is to perform the abortion, another person designated to receive the order by the minor, or a governmental agency or attorney in a criminal or administrative action seeking to assert or protect the interest of the minor. The supreme court may adopt rules to permit confidential docketing of an application under this section.

(l-1) The clerk of the court, at intervals prescribed by the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System, shall submit a report to the office that includes, for each case filed under this section:

(1) the case number and style;

(2) the applicant's county of residence;

(3) the court of appeals district in which the proceeding occurred;

(4) the date of filing;

(5) the date of disposition; and

(6) the disposition of the case.

(l-2) The Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System shall annually compile and publish a report aggregating the data received under Subsections (l-1)(3) and (6). A report submitted under Subsection (l-1) is confidential and privileged and is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, or to discovery, subpoena, or other legal process. A report under this subsection must protect the confidentiality of:

(1) the identity of all minors and judges who are the subject of the report; and

(2) the information described by Subsection (l-1)(1).

(m) The clerk of the supreme court shall prescribe the application form to be used by the minor filing an application under this section.

(n) A filing fee is not required of and court costs may not be assessed against a minor filing an application under this section.

(o) A minor who has filed an application under this section may not withdraw or otherwise non-suit her application without the permission of the court.

(p) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (q), a minor who has filed an application and has obtained a determination by the court as described by Subsection (i) may not initiate a new application proceeding and the prior proceeding is res judicata of the issue relating to the determination of whether the minor may or may not be authorized to consent to the performance of an abortion without notification to and consent of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian.

(q) A minor whose application is denied may subsequently submit an application to the court that denied the application if the minor shows that there has been a material change in circumstances since the time the court denied the application.

(r) An attorney retained by the minor to assist her in filing an application under this section shall fully inform himself or herself of the minor's prior application history, including the representations made by the minor in the application regarding her address, proper venue in the county in which the application is filed, and whether a prior application has been filed and initiated. If an attorney assists the minor in the application process in any way, with or without payment, the attorney representing the minor must attest to the truth of the minor's claims regarding the venue and prior applications in a sworn statement.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.742, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 110 (H.B. 841), Sec. 1, eff. May 21, 2011.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 5, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.004: Appeal

(a) A minor whose application under Section 33.003 is denied may appeal to the court of appeals having jurisdiction over civil matters in the county in which the application was filed. On receipt of a notice of appeal, the clerk of the court that denied the application shall deliver a copy of the notice of appeal and record on appeal to the clerk of the court of appeals. On receipt of the notice and record, the clerk of the court of appeals shall place the appeal on the docket of the court.

(b) The court of appeals shall rule on an appeal under this section not later than 5 p.m. on the fifth business day after the date the notice of appeal is filed with the court that denied the application. On request by the minor, the court shall grant an extension of the period specified by this subsection. If a request for an extension is made, the court shall rule on the appeal not later than 5 p.m. on the fifth business day after the date the minor states she is ready to proceed. Proceedings under this section shall be given precedence over other pending matters to the extent necessary to assure that the court reaches a decision promptly, regardless of whether the minor is granted an extension under this subsection.

(c) A ruling of the court of appeals issued under this section is confidential and privileged and is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, or discovery, subpoena, or other legal process. The ruling may not be released to any person but the pregnant minor, the pregnant minor's guardian ad litem, the pregnant minor's attorney, another person designated to receive the ruling by the minor, or a governmental agency or attorney in a criminal or administrative action seeking to assert or protect the interest of the minor. The supreme court may adopt rules to permit confidential docketing of an appeal under this section.

(c-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (c), the court of appeals may publish an opinion relating to a ruling under this section if the opinion is written in a way to preserve the confidentiality of the identity of the pregnant minor.

(d) The clerk of the supreme court shall prescribe the notice of appeal form to be used by the minor appealing a judgment under this section.

(e) A filing fee is not required of and court costs may not be assessed against a minor filing an appeal under this section.

(f) An expedited confidential appeal shall be available to any pregnant minor to whom a court of appeals denies an application to authorize the minor to consent to the performance of an abortion without notification to or consent of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 6, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.005: Affidavit of Physician

(a) A physician may execute for inclusion in the minor's medical record an affidavit stating that, after reasonable inquiry, it is the belief of the physician that:

(1) the minor has made an application or filed a notice of an appeal with a court under this chapter;

(2) the deadline for court action imposed by this chapter has passed; and

(3) the physician has been notified that the court has not denied the application or appeal.

(b) A physician who in good faith has executed an affidavit under Subsection (a) may rely on the affidavit and may perform the abortion as if the court had issued an order granting the application or appeal.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 33.006: Guardian Ad Litem Immunity

A guardian ad litem appointed under this chapter and acting in the course and scope of the appointment is not liable for damages arising from an act or omission of the guardian ad litem committed in good faith. The immunity granted by this section does not apply if the conduct of the guardian ad litem is committed in a manner described by Sections 107.003(b)(1)-(4).

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 33.0065: Records

The clerk of the court shall retain the records for each case before the court under this chapter in accordance with rules for civil cases and grant access to the records to the minor who is the subject of the proceeding.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 7, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.007: Costs Paid By State

(a) A court acting under Section 33.003 or 33.004 may issue an order requiring the state to pay:

(1) the cost of any attorney ad litem and any guardian ad litem appointed for the minor;

(2) notwithstanding Sections 33.003(n) and 33.004(e), the costs of court associated with the application or appeal; and

(3) any court reporter's fees incurred.

(b) An order issued under Subsection (a) must be directed to the comptroller, who shall pay the amount ordered from funds appropriated to the Texas Department of Health.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 33.008: Physician's Duty to Report Abuse of a Minor; Investigation and Assistance

(a) If a minor claims to have been physically or sexually abused or a physician or physician's agent has reason to believe that a minor has been physically or sexually abused, the physician or physician's agent shall immediately report the suspected abuse and the name of the abuser to the Department of Family and Protective Services and to a local law enforcement agency and shall refer the minor to the department for services or intervention that may be in the best interest of the minor. The local law enforcement agency shall respond and shall write a report within 24 hours of being notified of the alleged abuse. A report shall be made regardless of whether the local law enforcement agency knows or suspects that a report about the abuse may have previously been made.

(b) The appropriate local law enforcement agency and the Department of Family and Protective Services shall investigate suspected abuse reported under this section and, if warranted, shall refer the case to the appropriate prosecuting authority.

(c) When the local law enforcement agency responds to the report of physical or sexual abuse as required by Subsection (a), a law enforcement officer or appropriate agent from the Department of Family and Protective Services may take emergency possession of the minor without a court order to protect the health and safety of the minor as described by Chapter 262.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 110 (H.B. 841), Sec. 2, eff. May 21, 2011.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 8, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.0085: Duty of Judge Or Justice to Report Abuse of Minor

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a judge or justice who, as a result of court proceedings conducted under Section 33.003 or 33.004, has reason to believe that a minor has been or may be physically or sexually abused shall:

(1) immediately report the suspected abuse and the name of the abuser to the Department of Family and Protective Services and to a local law enforcement agency; and

(2) refer the minor to the department for services or intervention that may be in the best interest of the minor.

(b) The appropriate local law enforcement agency and the Department of Family and Protective Services shall investigate suspected abuse reported under this section and, if warranted, shall refer the case to the appropriate prosecuting authority.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 9, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.009: Other Reports of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

A court or the guardian ad litem or attorney ad litem for the minor shall report conduct reasonably believed to violate Section 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code, based on information obtained during a confidential court proceeding held under this chapter to:

(1) any local or state law enforcement agency;

(2) the Department of Family and Protective Services, if the alleged conduct involves a person responsible for the care, custody, or welfare of the child;

(3) the state agency that operates, licenses, certifies, or registers the facility in which the alleged conduct occurred, if the alleged conduct occurred in a facility operated, licensed, certified, or registered by a state agency; or

(4) an appropriate agency designated by the court.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 593 (H.B. 8), Sec. 3.27, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 33.010: Confidentiality

Notwithstanding any other law, information obtained by the Department of Family and Protective Services or another entity under Section 33.008, 33.0085, or 33.009 is confidential except to the extent necessary to prove a violation of Section 21.02, 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 593 (H.B. 8), Sec. 3.28, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 10, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.011: Information Relating to Judicial Bypass

The Texas Department of Health shall produce and distribute informational materials that explain the rights of a minor under this chapter. The materials must explain the procedures established by Sections 33.003 and 33.004 and must be made available in English and in Spanish. The material provided by the department shall also provide information relating to alternatives to abortion and health risks associated with abortion.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 395, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 33.012: Civil Penalty

(a) A person who is found to have intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with gross negligence violated this chapter is liable to this state for a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 and not more than $10,000.

(b) Each performance or attempted performance of an abortion in violation of this chapter is a separate violation.

(c) A civil penalty may not be assessed against:

(1) a minor on whom an abortion is performed or attempted; or

(2) a judge or justice hearing a court proceeding conducted under Section 33.003 or 33.004.

(d) It is not a defense to an action brought under this section that the minor gave informed and voluntary consent.

(e) The attorney general shall bring an action to collect a penalty under this section.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 11, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.013: Capacity to Consent

An unemancipated minor does not have the capacity to consent to any action that violates this chapter.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 11, eff. January 1, 2016.

Sec. 33.014: Attorney General to Enforce

The attorney general shall enforce this chapter.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 436 (H.B. 3994), Sec. 11, eff. January 1, 2016.

Chapter 34

Sec. 34.0015: Definitions

In this chapter:

(1) "Adult caregiver" means an adult person whom a parent has authorized to provide temporary care for a child under this chapter.

(2) "Parent" has the meaning assigned by Section 101.024.

Comments

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 897 (S.B. 482), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.002: Authorization Agreement

(a) A parent or both parents of a child may enter into an authorization agreement with an adult caregiver to authorize the adult caregiver to perform the following acts in regard to the child:

(1) to authorize medical, dental, psychological, or surgical treatment and immunization of the child, including executing any consents or authorizations for the release of information as required by law relating to the treatment or immunization;

(2) to obtain and maintain health insurance coverage for the child and automobile insurance coverage for the child, if appropriate;

(3) to enroll the child in a day-care program or preschool or in a public or private elementary or secondary school;

(4) to authorize the child to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, civic, social, or recreational activities, including athletic activities;

(5) to authorize the child to obtain a learner's permit, driver's license, or state-issued identification card;

(6) to authorize employment of the child;

(7) to apply for and receive public benefits on behalf of the child; and

(8) to obtain:

(A) copies or originals of state-issued personal identification documents for the child, including the child's birth certificate; and

(B) to the extent authorized under federal law, copies or originals of federally issued personal identification documents for the child, including the child's social security card.

(b) To the extent of any conflict or inconsistency between this chapter and any other law relating to the eligibility requirements other than parental consent to obtain a service under Subsection (a), the other law controls.

(c) An authorization agreement under this chapter does not confer on an adult caregiver the right to authorize the performance of an abortion on the child or the administration of emergency contraception to the child.

(d) Only one authorization agreement may be in effect for a child at any time. An authorization agreement is void if it is executed while a prior authorization agreement remains in effect.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 815 (S.B. 1598), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 484 (H.B. 848), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 897 (S.B. 482), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1167 (S.B. 821), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885 (H.B. 3052), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.0021: Authorization Agreement By Parent in Child Protective Services Case

A parent may enter into an authorization agreement with an adult caregiver with whom a child is placed under a parental child safety placement agreement approved by the Department of Family and Protective Services to allow the person to perform the acts described by Section 34.002(a) with regard to the child:

(1) during an investigation of abuse or neglect; or

(2) while the department is providing services to the parent.

Comments

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 484 (H.B. 848), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2011.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.0022: Inapplicability of Certain Laws

(a) An authorization agreement executed under this chapter between a child's parent and an adult caregiver does not subject the adult caregiver to any law or rule governing the licensing or regulation of a residential child-care facility under Chapter 42, Human Resources Code.

(b) A child who is the subject of an authorization agreement executed under this chapter is not considered to be placed in foster care and the parties to the authorization agreement are not subject to any law or rule governing foster care providers.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.003: Contents of Authorization Agreement

(a) The authorization agreement must contain:

(1) the following information from the adult caregiver:

(A) the name and signature of the adult caregiver;

(B) the adult caregiver's relationship to the child; and

(C) the adult caregiver's current physical address and telephone number or the best way to contact the adult caregiver;

(2) the following information from the parent:

(A) the name and signature of the parent; and

(B) the parent's current address and telephone number or the best way to contact the parent;

(3) the information in Subdivision (2) with respect to the other parent, if applicable;

(4) a statement that the adult caregiver has been given authorization to perform the functions listed in Section 34.002(a) as a result of a voluntary action of the parent and that the adult caregiver has voluntarily assumed the responsibility of performing those functions;

(5) statements that neither the parent nor the adult caregiver has knowledge that a parent, guardian, custodian, licensed child-placing agency, or other authorized agency asserts any claim or authority inconsistent with the authorization agreement under this chapter with regard to actual physical possession or care, custody, or control of the child;

(6) statements that:

(A) to the best of the parent's and adult caregiver's knowledge:

(i) there is no court order or pending suit affecting the parent-child relationship concerning the child;

(ii) there is no pending litigation in any court concerning:

(a) custody, possession, or placement of the child; or

(b) access to or visitation with the child; and

(iii) a court does not have continuing jurisdiction concerning the child; or

(B) the court with continuing jurisdiction concerning the child has given written approval for the execution of the authorization agreement accompanied by the following information:

(i) the county in which the court is located;

(ii) the number of the court; and

(iii) the cause number in which the order was issued or the litigation is pending;

(7) a statement that to the best of the parent's and adult caregiver's knowledge there is no current, valid authorization agreement regarding the child;

(8) a statement that the authorization is made in conformance with this chapter;

(9) a statement that the parent and the adult caregiver understand that each party to the authorization agreement is required by law to immediately provide to each other party information regarding any change in the party's address or contact information;

(10) a statement by the parent that:

(A) indicates the authorization agreement is for a term of:

(i) six months from the date the parties enter into the agreement, which renews automatically for six-month terms unless the agreement is terminated as provided by Section 34.008; or

(ii) the time provided in the agreement with a specific expiration date earlier than six months after the date the parties enter into the agreement; and

(B) identifies the circumstances under which the authorization agreement may be:

(i) terminated as provided by Section 34.008 before the term of the agreement expires; or

(ii) continued beyond the term of the agreement by a court as provided by Section 34.008(b); and

(11) space for the signature and seal of a notary public.

(b) The authorization agreement must contain the following warnings and disclosures:

(1) that the authorization agreement is an important legal document;

(2) that the parent and the adult caregiver must read all of the warnings and disclosures before signing the authorization agreement;

(3) that the persons signing the authorization agreement are not required to consult an attorney but are advised to do so;

(4) that the parent's rights as a parent may be adversely affected by placing or leaving the parent's child with another person;

(5) that the authorization agreement does not confer on the adult caregiver the rights of a managing or possessory conservator or legal guardian;

(6) that a parent who is a party to the authorization agreement may terminate the authorization agreement and resume custody, possession, care, and control of the child on demand and that at any time the parent may request the return of the child;

(7) that failure by the adult caregiver to return the child to the parent immediately on request may have criminal and civil consequences;

(8) that, under other applicable law, the adult caregiver may be liable for certain expenses relating to the child in the adult caregiver's care but that the parent still retains the parental obligation to support the child;

(9) that, in certain circumstances, the authorization agreement may not be entered into without written permission of the court;

(10) that the authorization agreement may be terminated by certain court orders affecting the child;

(11) that the authorization agreement does not supersede, invalidate, or terminate any prior authorization agreement regarding the child;

(12) that the authorization agreement is void if a prior authorization agreement regarding the child is in effect and has not expired or been terminated;

(13) that, except as provided by Section 34.005(a-2), the authorization agreement is void unless not later than the 10th day after the date the authorization agreement is signed, the parties mail to a parent who was not a party to the authorization agreement at the parent's last known address, if the parent is living and the parent's parental rights have not been terminated:

(A) one copy of the authorization agreement by certified mail, return receipt requested, or international registered mail, return receipt requested, as applicable; and

(B) one copy of the authorization agreement by first class mail or international first class mail, as applicable; and

(14) that the authorization agreement does not confer on an adult caregiver the right to authorize the performance of an abortion on the child or the administration of emergency contraception to the child.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 815 (S.B. 1598), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 897 (S.B. 482), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885 (H.B. 3052), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.004: Execution of Authorization Agreement

(a) The authorization agreement must be signed and sworn to before a notary public by the parent and the adult caregiver.

(b) A parent may not execute an authorization agreement without a written order by the appropriate court if:

(1) there is a court order or pending suit affecting the parent-child relationship concerning the child;

(2) there is pending litigation in any court concerning:

(A) custody, possession, or placement of the child; or

(B) access to or visitation with the child; or

(3) a court has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the child.

(c) An authorization agreement obtained in violation of Subsection (b) is void.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 815 (S.B. 1598), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885 (H.B. 3052), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.005: Duties of Parties to Authorization Agreement

(a) If both parents did not sign the authorization agreement, not later than the 10th day after the date the authorization agreement is executed the parties shall mail to the parent who was not a party to the authorization agreement at the parent's last known address, if that parent is living and that parent's parental rights have not been terminated:

(1) one copy of the executed authorization agreement by certified mail, return receipt requested, or international registered mail, return receipt requested, as applicable; and

(2) one copy of the executed authorization agreement by first class mail or international first class mail, as applicable.

(a-1) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (a-2), an authorization agreement is void if the parties fail to comply with Subsection (a).

(a-2) Subsection (a) does not apply to an authorization agreement if the parent who was not a party to the authorization agreement:

(1) does not have court-ordered possession of or access to the child who is the subject of the authorization agreement; and

(2) has previously committed an act of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, or assault against the parent who is a party to the authorization agreement, the child who is the subject of the authorization agreement, or another child of the parent who is a party to the authorization agreement, as documented by one or more of the following:

(A) the issuance of a protective order against the parent who was not a party to the authorization agreement as provided under Chapter 85 or under a similar law of another state; or

(B) the conviction of the parent who was not a party to the authorization agreement of an offense under Title 5, Penal Code, or of another criminal offense in this state or in another state an element of which involves a violent act or prohibited sexual conduct.

(b) A party to the authorization agreement shall immediately inform each other party of any change in the party's address or contact information. If a party fails to comply with this subsection, the authorization agreement is voidable by the other party.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 815 (S.B. 1598), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 897 (S.B. 482), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885 (H.B. 3052), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.006: Authorization Voidable

An authorization agreement is voidable by a party if the other party knowingly:

(1) obtained the authorization agreement by fraud, duress, or misrepresentation; or

(2) made a false statement on the authorization agreement.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 815 (S.B. 1598), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 34.007: Effect of Authorization Agreement

(a) A person who is not a party to the authorization agreement who relies in good faith on an authorization agreement under this chapter, without actual knowledge that the authorization agreement is void, revoked, or invalid, is not subject to civil or criminal liability to any person, and is not subject to professional disciplinary action, for that reliance if the agreement is completed as required by this chapter.

(b) The authorization agreement does not affect the rights of the child's parent or legal guardian regarding the care, custody, and control of the child, and does not mean that the adult caregiver has legal custody of the child.

(c) An authorization agreement executed under this chapter does not confer or affect standing or a right of intervention in any proceeding under Title 5.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 815 (S.B. 1598), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.0075: Term of Authorization Agreement

An authorization agreement executed under this chapter is for a term of six months from the date the parties enter into the agreement and renews automatically for six-month terms unless:

(1) an earlier expiration date is stated in the authorization agreement;

(2) the authorization agreement is terminated as provided by Section 34.008; or

(3) a court authorizes the continuation of the agreement as provided by Section 34.008(b).

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.008: Termination of Authorization Agreement

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an authorization agreement under this chapter terminates if, after the execution of the authorization agreement, a court enters an order:

(1) affecting the parent-child relationship;

(2) concerning custody, possession, or placement of the child;

(3) concerning access to or visitation with the child; or

(4) regarding the appointment of a guardian for the child under Subchapter B, Chapter 1104, Estates Code.

(b) An authorization agreement may continue after a court order described by Subsection (a) is entered if the court entering the order gives written permission.

(c) An authorization agreement under this chapter terminates on written revocation by a party to the authorization agreement if the party:

(1) gives each party written notice of the revocation;

(2) files the written revocation with the clerk of the county in which:

(A) the child resides;

(B) the child resided at the time the authorization agreement was executed; or

(C) the adult caregiver resides; and

(3) files the written revocation with the clerk of each court:

(A) that has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the child;

(B) in which there is a court order or pending suit affecting the parent-child relationship concerning the child;

(C) in which there is pending litigation concerning:

(i) custody, possession, or placement of the child; or

(ii) access to or visitation with the child; or

(D) that has entered an order regarding the appointment of a guardian for the child under Subchapter B, Chapter 1104, Estates Code.

(d) Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2017.

(e) If both parents have signed the authorization agreement, either parent may revoke the authorization agreement without the other parent's consent.

(f) Execution of a subsequent authorization agreement does not by itself supersede, invalidate, or terminate a prior authorization agreement.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 815 (S.B. 1598), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 897 (S.B. 482), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 10, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 244 (H.B. 871), Sec. 13, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 324 (S.B. 1488), Sec. 22.017, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 34.009: Penalty

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:

(1) presents a document that is not a valid authorization agreement as a valid authorization agreement under this chapter;

(2) makes a false statement on an authorization agreement; or

(3) obtains an authorization agreement by fraud, duress, or misrepresentation.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 815 (S.B. 1598), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Chapter 35

Sec. 35.001: Applicability

This chapter applies to a person whose relationship to a child would make the person eligible to consent to treatment under Section 32.001 or eligible to enter an authorization agreement under Section 34.001.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 334 (H.B. 1043), Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2017.

Sec. 35.002: Temporary Authorization

A person described by Section 35.001 may seek a court order for temporary authorization for care of a child by filing a petition in the district court in the county in which the person resides if:

(1) the child has resided with the person for at least the 30 days preceding the date the petition was filed; and

(2) the person does not have an authorization agreement under Chapter 34 or other signed, written documentation from a parent, conservator, or guardian that enables the person to provide necessary care for the child.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 334 (H.B. 1043), Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2017.

Sec. 35.003: Petition for Temporary Authorization for Care of Child

(a) A petition for temporary authorization for care of a child must:

(1) be styled "ex parte" and be in the name of the child;

(2) be verified by the petitioner;

(3) state:

(A) the name, date of birth, and current physical address of the child;

(B) the name, date of birth, and current physical address of the petitioner; and

(C) the name and, if known, the current physical and mailing addresses of the child's parents, conservators, or guardians;

(4) describe the status and location of any court proceeding in this or another state with respect to the child;

(5) describe the petitioner's relationship to the child;

(6) provide the dates during the preceding 12 months that the child has resided with the petitioner;

(7) describe any service or action that the petitioner is unable to obtain or undertake on behalf of the child without authorization from the court;

(8) state any reason that the petitioner is unable to obtain signed, written documentation from a parent, conservator, or guardian of the child;

(9) contain a statement of the period for which the petitioner is requesting temporary authorization; and

(10) contain a statement of any reason supporting the request for the temporary authorization.

(b) If the petition identifies a court proceeding with respect to the child under Subsection (a)(4), the petitioner shall submit a copy of any court order that designates a conservator or guardian of the child.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 334 (H.B. 1043), Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2017.

Sec. 35.004: Notice; Hearing

(a) On receipt of the petition, the court shall set a hearing.

(b) A copy of the petition and notice of the hearing shall be delivered to the parent, conservator, or guardian of the child by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the last known address of the parent, conservator, or guardian.

(c) Proof of service under Subsection (b) must be filed with the court at least three days before the date of the hearing.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 334 (H.B. 1043), Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2017.

Sec. 35.005: Order for Temporary Authorization

(a) At the hearing on the petition, the court may hear evidence relating to the child's need for care by the petitioner, any other matter raised in the petition, and any objection or other testimony of the child's parent, conservator, or guardian.

(b) The court shall award temporary authorization for care of the child to the petitioner if the court finds it is necessary to the child's welfare and no objection is made by the child's parent, conservator, or guardian. If an objection is made, the court shall dismiss the petition without prejudice.

(c) The court shall grant the petition for temporary authorization only if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the child does not have a parent, conservator, guardian, or other legal representative available to give the necessary consent.

(d) The order granting temporary authorization under this chapter expires on the first anniversary of the date of issuance or at an earlier date determined by the court. The order may authorize the petitioner to:

(1) consent to medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment and immunization of the child;

(2) execute any consent or authorization for the release of information as required by law relating to the treatment or immunization under Subdivision (1);

(3) obtain and maintain any public benefit for the child;

(4) enroll the child in a day-care program, preschool, or public or private primary or secondary school;

(5) authorize the child to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, civic, social, or recreational activities, including athletic activities; and

(6) authorize or consent to any other care for the child essential to the child's welfare.

(e) An order granting temporary authorization under this chapter must state:

(1) the name and date of birth of the person with temporary authorization to care for the child;

(2) the specific areas of authorization granted to the person;

(3) that the order does not supersede any rights of a parent, conservator, or guardian as provided by court order; and

(4) the expiration date of the temporary authorization order.

(f) A copy of an order for temporary authorization must:

(1) be filed under the cause number in any court that has rendered a conservatorship or guardian order regarding the child; and

(2) be sent to the last known address of the child's parent, conservator, or guardian.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 334 (H.B. 1043), Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2017.

Sec. 35.006: Renewal Or Termination of Temporary Authorization

(a) A temporary authorization order may be renewed by court order for a period of not more than one year on a showing by the petitioner of a continuing need for the order.

(b) At any time, the petitioner or the child's parent, conservator, or guardian may request the court to terminate the order. The court shall terminate the order on finding that there is no longer a need for the order.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 334 (H.B. 1043), Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2017.

Sec. 35.007: Effect of Temporary Authorization

(a) A person who relies in good faith on a temporary authorization order under this chapter is not subject to:

(1) civil or criminal liability to any person; or

(2) professional disciplinary action.

(b) A temporary authorization order does not affect the rights of the child's parent, conservator, or guardian regarding the care, custody, and control of the child, and does not establish legal custody of the child.

(c) A temporary authorization order does not confer or affect standing or a right of intervention in any proceeding under Title 5.

(d) An order under this chapter is not a child custody determination and does not create a court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction under Title 5.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 334 (H.B. 1043), Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2017.

Chapter 35A

Sec. 35A.001: Applicability

This chapter applies to a person whose relationship to a child would make the person eligible to consent to treatment under Section 32.001(a)(1), (2), or (3), and who has had actual care, custody, and control of the child for the six months preceding the filing of a petition under this chapter.

Comments

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 988 (S.B. 1238), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 35A.002: Temporary Authorization

A person described by Section 35A.001 may seek a court order for temporary authorization to consent to voluntary inpatient mental health services for a child by filing a petition in the district court in the county in which the person resides.

Comments

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 988 (S.B. 1238), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 35A.003: Petition for Temporary Authorization

A petition for temporary authorization to consent to voluntary inpatient mental health services for a child must:

(1) be styled "ex parte" and be in the name of the child;

(2) be verified by the petitioner;

(3) state:

(A) the name, date of birth, and current physical address of the child;

(B) the name, date of birth, and current physical address of the petitioner; and

(C) the name and, if known, the current physical and mailing addresses of the child's parents, conservators, or guardians;

(4) describe the status and location of any court proceeding in this or another state with respect to the child;

(5) describe the petitioner's relationship to the child;

(6) provide the dates during the preceding six months that the child has resided with the petitioner;

(7) contain a certificate of medical examination for mental illness prepared by a physician who has examined the child not earlier than the third day before the date the petition is filed and be accompanied by a sworn statement containing the physician's opinion, and the detailed reasons for that opinion, that the child is a person:

(A) with mental illness or who demonstrates symptoms of a serious emotional disorder; and

(B) who presents a risk of serious harm to self or others if not immediately restrained or hospitalized; and

(8) state any reason that the petitioner is unable to obtain signed, written documentation from a parent, conservator, or guardian of the child.

Comments

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 988 (S.B. 1238), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 35A.004: Notice; Hearing

(a) On receipt of the petition, the court shall set a hearing.

(b) A copy of the petition and notice of the hearing shall be delivered to the parent, conservator, or guardian of the child by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the last known address of the parent, conservator, or guardian.

Comments

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 988 (S.B. 1238), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 35A.005: Order for Temporary Authorization

(a) At the hearing on the petition, the court may hear evidence relating to the child's need for inpatient mental health services by the petitioner, any other matter raised in the petition, and any objection or other testimony of the child's parent, conservator, or guardian.

(b) The court shall dismiss the petition for temporary authorization if an objection is made by the child's parent, conservator, or guardian.

(c) The court shall grant the petition for temporary authorization only if the court finds:

(1) by a preponderance of the evidence that the child does not have available a parent, conservator, guardian, or other legal representative to give consent under Section 572.001, Health and Safety Code, for voluntary inpatient mental health services; and

(2) by clear and convincing evidence that the child is a person:

(A) with mental illness or who demonstrates symptoms of a serious emotional disorder; and

(B) who presents a risk of serious harm to self or others if not immediately restrained or hospitalized.

(d) Subject to Subsection (e), the order granting temporary authorization under this chapter expires on the earliest of:

(1) the date the petitioner requests that the child be discharged from the inpatient mental health facility;

(2) the date a physician determines that the criteria listed in Subsection (c)(2) no longer apply to the child; or

(3) subject to Subsection (e), the 10th day after the date the order for temporary authorization is issued under this section.

(e) The order granting temporary authorization continues in effect until the earlier occurrence of an event described by Subsection (d)(1) or (2) if the petitioner obtains an order for temporary managing conservatorship before the order expires as provided by Subsection (d)(3).

(f) A copy of an order granting temporary authorization must:

(1) be filed under the cause number in any court that has rendered a conservatorship or guardian order regarding the child; and

(2) be sent to the last known address of the child's parent, conservator, or guardian.

Comments

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 988 (S.B. 1238), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.

Subtitle B

Chapter 41

Sec. 41.001: Liability

A parent or other person who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of a child is liable for any property damage proximately caused by:

(1) the negligent conduct of the child if the conduct is reasonably attributable to the negligent failure of the parent or other person to exercise that duty; or

(2) the wilful and malicious conduct of a child who is at least 10 years of age but under 18 years of age.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 587, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 41.002: Limit of Damages

Recovery for damage caused by wilful and malicious conduct is limited to actual damages, not to exceed $25,000 per occurrence, plus court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 783, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 41.0025: Liability for Property Damage to an Inn Or Hotel

(a) Notwithstanding Section 41.002, recovery of damages by an inn or hotel for wilful and malicious conduct is limited to actual damages, not to exceed $25,000 per occurrence, plus court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

(b) In this section "occurrence" means one incident on a single day in one hotel room. The term does not include incidents in separate rooms or incidents that occur on different days.

Comments

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 40, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 41.003: Venue

A suit as provided by this chapter may be filed in the county in which the conduct of the child occurred or in the county in which the defendant resides.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Chapter 42

Sec. 42.001: Definitions

In this chapter:

(1) "Order" means a temporary or final order of a court of this state or another state or nation.

(2) "Possessory right" means a court-ordered right of possession of or access to a child, including conservatorship, custody, and visitation.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 42.002: Liability for Interference with Possessory Right

(a) A person who takes or retains possession of a child or who conceals the whereabouts of a child in violation of a possessory right of another person may be liable for damages to that person.

(b) A possessory right is violated by the taking, retention, or concealment of a child at a time when another person is entitled to possession of or access to the child.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 42.003: Aiding Or Assisting Interference with Possessory Right

(a) A person who aids or assists in conduct for which a cause of action is authorized by this chapter is jointly and severally liable for damages.

(b) A person who was not a party to the suit in which an order was rendered providing for a possessory right is not liable unless the person at the time of the violation:

(1) had actual notice of the existence and contents of the order; or

(2) had reasonable cause to believe that the child was the subject of an order and that the person's actions were likely to violate the order.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 42.005: Venue

A suit may be filed in a county in which:

(1) the plaintiff resides;

(2) the defendant resides;

(3) a suit affecting the parent-child relationship as provided by Chapter 102 may be brought, concerning the child who is the subject of the court order; or

(4) a court has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction as provided by Chapter 155.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 42.006: Damages

(a) Damages may include:

(1) the actual costs and expenses incurred, including attorney's fees, in:

(A) locating a child who is the subject of the order;

(B) recovering possession of the child if the petitioner is entitled to possession; and

(C) enforcing the order and prosecuting the suit; and

(2) mental suffering and anguish incurred by the plaintiff because of a violation of the order.

(b) A person liable for damages who acted with malice or with an intent to cause harm to the plaintiff may be liable for exemplary damages.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 42.007: Affirmative Defense

The defendant may plead as an affirmative defense that the defendant acted in violation of the order with the express consent of the plaintiff.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 437, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 42.008: Remedies Not Affected

This chapter does not affect any other civil or criminal remedy available to any person, including the child, for interference with a possessory right, nor does it affect the power of a parent to represent the interest of a child in a suit filed on behalf of the child.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 42.009: Frivolous Suit

A person sued for damages as provided by this chapter is entitled to recover attorney's fees and court costs if:

(1) the claim for damages is dismissed or judgment is awarded to the defendant; and

(2) the court or jury finds that the claim for damages is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Subtitle C

Chapter 45

Subchapter A

Sec. 45.001: Who May File; Venue

A parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a child may file a petition requesting a change of name of the child in the county where the child resides.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 45.002: Requirements of Petition

(a) A petition to change the name of a child must be verified and include:

(1) the present name and place of residence of the child;

(2) the reason a change of name is requested;

(3) the full name requested for the child;

(4) whether the child is subject to the continuing exclusive jurisdiction of a court under Chapter 155; and

(5) whether the child is subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(b) If the child is 10 years of age or older, the child's written consent to the change of name must be attached to the petition.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1390, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1300, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 45.003: Citation

(a) The following persons are entitled to citation in a suit under this subchapter:

(1) a parent of the child whose parental rights have not been terminated;

(2) any managing conservator of the child; and

(3) any guardian of the child.

(b) Citation must be issued and served in the same manner as under Chapter 102.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 45.0031: Waiver of Citation

(a) A party to a suit under this subchapter may waive the issuance or service of citation after the suit is filed by filing with the clerk of the court in which the suit is filed the waiver of the party acknowledging receipt of a copy of the filed petition.

(b) The party executing the waiver may not sign the waiver using a digitized signature.

(c) The waiver must contain the mailing address of the party executing the waiver.

(d) Notwithstanding Section 132.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the waiver must be sworn before a notary public who is not an attorney in the suit. This subsection does not apply if the party executing the waiver is incarcerated.

(e) The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to a waiver executed under this section.

(f) For purposes of this section, "digitized signature" has the meaning assigned by Section 101.0096.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 198 (S.B. 814), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 45.004: Order

(a) The court may order the name of a child changed if:

(1) the change is in the best interest of the child; and

(2) for a child subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure:

(A) the change is in the interest of the public; and

(B) the person petitioning on behalf of the child provides the court with proof that the child has notified the appropriate local law enforcement authority of the proposed name change.

(b) If the child is subject to the continuing jurisdiction of a court under Chapter 155, the court shall send a copy of the order to the central record file as provided in Chapter 108.

(c) In this section, "local law enforcement authority" has the meaning assigned by Article 62.001, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1300, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1008 (H.B. 867), Sec. 2.05, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 45.005: Liabilities and Rights Unaffected

A change of name does not:

(1) release a child from any liability incurred in the child's previous name; or

(2) defeat any right the child had in the child's previous name.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Subchapter B

Sec. 45.101: Who May File; Venue

An adult may file a petition requesting a change of name in the county of the adult's place of residence.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 45.102: Requirements of Petition

(a) A petition to change the name of an adult must be verified and include:

(1) the present name and place of residence of the petitioner;

(2) the full name requested for the petitioner;

(3) the reason the change in name is requested;

(4) whether the petitioner has been the subject of a final felony conviction;

(5) whether the petitioner is subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure; and

(6) a legible and complete set of the petitioner's fingerprints on a fingerprint card format acceptable to the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(b) The petition must include each of the following or a reasonable explanation why the required information is not included:

(1) the petitioner's:

(A) full name;

(B) sex;

(C) race;

(D) date of birth;

(E) driver's license number for any driver's license issued in the 10 years preceding the date of the petition;

(F) social security number; and

(G) assigned FBI number, state identification number, if known, or any other reference number in a criminal history record system that identifies the petitioner;

(2) any offense above the grade of Class C misdemeanor for which the petitioner has been charged; and

(3) the case number and the court if a warrant was issued or a charging instrument was filed or presented for an offense listed in Subsection (b)(2).

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1003, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1300, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 728 (H.B. 2018), Sec. 6.001, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 45.103: Order

(a) The court shall order a change of name under this subchapter for a person other than a person with a final felony conviction or a person subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, if the change is in the interest or to the benefit of the petitioner and in the interest of the public.

(b) A court may order a change of name under this subchapter for a person with a final felony conviction if:

(1) in addition to the requirements of Subsection (a), the person has:

(A) received a certificate of discharge by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or completed a period of community supervision or juvenile probation ordered by a court and not less than two years have passed from the date of the receipt of discharge or completion of community supervision or juvenile probation; or

(B) been pardoned; or

(2) the person is requesting to change the person's name to the primary name used in the person's criminal history record information.

(c) A court may order a change of name under this subchapter for a person subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, if the person:

(1) meets the requirements of Subsection (a) or is requesting to change the person's name to the primary name used in the person's criminal history record information; and

(2) provides the court with proof that the person has notified the appropriate local law enforcement authority of the proposed name change.

(d) In this section:

(1) "Criminal history record information" has the meaning assigned by Section 411.082, Government Code.

(2) "Local law enforcement authority" has the meaning assigned by Article 62.001, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1300, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1008 (H.B. 867), Sec. 2.06, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87 (S.B. 1969), Sec. 25.057, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 232 (H.B. 2623), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 45.104: Liabilities and Rights Unaffected

A change of name under this subchapter does not release a person from liability incurred in that person's previous name or defeat any right the person had in the person's previous name.

Comments

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 45.105: Change of Name in Divorce Suit

(a) On the final disposition of a suit for divorce, for annulment, or to declare a marriage void, the court shall enter a decree changing the name of a party specially praying for the change to a prior used name unless the court states in the decree a reason for denying the change of name. The court may not deny a change of name solely to keep last names of family members the same.

(b) A person whose name is changed under this section may apply for a change of name certificate from the clerk of the court as provided by Section 45.106.

Comments

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.10(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 45.106: Change of Name Certificate

(a) A person whose name is changed under Section 6.706 or 45.105 may apply to the clerk of the court ordering the name change for a change of name certificate.

(b) A certificate under this section is a one-page document that includes:

(1) the name of the person before the change of name was ordered;

(2) the name to which the person's name was changed by the court;

(3) the date on which the name change was made;

(4) the person's social security number and driver's license number, if any;

(5) the name of the court in which the name change was ordered; and

(6) the signature of the clerk of the court that issued the certificate.

(c) An applicant for a certificate under this section shall pay a $10 fee to the clerk of the court for issuance of the certificate.

(d) A certificate under this section constitutes proof of the change of name of the person named in the certificate.

Comments

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.10(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 6.06, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 45.107: Waiver of Citation

(a) A party to a suit under this subchapter may waive the issuance or service of citation after the suit is filed by filing with the clerk of the court in which the suit is filed the waiver of the party acknowledging receipt of a copy of the filed petition.

(b) The party executing the waiver may not sign the waiver using a digitized signature.

(c) The waiver must contain the mailing address of the party executing the waiver.

(d) The waiver must be sworn before a notary public who is not an attorney in the suit or conform to the requirements for an unsworn declaration under Section 132.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code. This subsection does not apply if the party executing the waiver is incarcerated.

(e) The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to a waiver executed under this section.

(f) For purposes of this section, "digitized signature" has the meaning assigned by Section 101.0096.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 198 (S.B. 814), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2015.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 606 (S.B. 891), Sec. 11.02, eff. September 1, 2019.

Subtitle E

Chapter 47

Sec. 47.001: Applicability of Definitions

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the definitions in Chapter 101 apply to terms used in this title.

(b) If a term defined in this title has a meaning different from the meaning provided by Chapter 101, the meaning provided by this title prevails.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 612 (S.B. 822), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Reenacted and amended by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 324 (S.B. 1488), Sec. 7.001, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 47.002: Applicability of Laws Relating to Attorneys Ad Litem, Guardians Ad Litem, and Amicus Attorneys

Chapter 107 applies to the appointment of an attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, or amicus attorney under this title.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 612 (S.B. 822), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Reenacted and amended by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 324 (S.B. 1488), Sec. 7.001, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 47.003: Use of Digitized Signature

(a) A digitized signature on an original petition or application under this title or any other pleading or order in a proceeding under this title satisfies the requirements for and imposes the duties of signatories to pleadings, motions, and other papers identified under Rule 13, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

(b) A digitized signature under this section may be applied only by, and must remain under the sole control of, the person whose signature is represented.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1165 (S.B. 813), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2015.

Reenacted and amended by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 324 (S.B. 1488), Sec. 7.001, eff. September 1, 2017.