Degrees of Consanguinity: SAPCR Standing
There are a lot of different ways for a relative to get their foot in the door to file a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship—or intervene in one. Relatives who have had the child living with them for months probably have the best way into the case, but even lesser amounts of contact might be deemed sufficient “substantial past contact,” depending on the other circumstances. (Circumstances like whether or not parents deceased, or whether or not the parents are potentially dangerous to child. What I had to research today, though, and thought I would share, is what about the section of the Family Code—TFC § 102.004(a)—that gives some relatives standing based on their blood relationship to the child alone (plus either consent of parents OR proof to the court that child’s circumstances—probably meaning staying with parents—“would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development”). Which relatives are we talking? Grandparents, yes. But also “another relative of the child related within the third degree by consanguinity.” So what’s that mean? Well, the Texas Government Code § 573.023 actually explains this in detail (in relation to Texas anti-nepotism rules). You count from the child, up the number of generations until you get to a common ancestor, and then back down generations again to reach the child’s relative you’re thinking about. Examples: Child to father is a relation one degree of consanguinity apart. Child to paternal grandfather is a relation two degrees of consanguinity apart. Child to paternal uncle is a relation three degrees of consanguinity apart—child to father (one) to grandfather (two) to uncle (three); it’s not two apart because this way of counting you cannot go sideways to uncle, you have to go up to that common ancestor and back down again. Relatives in the first degree: parent or child. Relatives in the second degree: brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild. Relatives in the third degree: great-grandparent, great-grandchild, aunt (who is a sister of parent), uncle (who is brother of parent), etc. The chart above does a decent job of explaining this graphically.