These Bills Address Prolonged Court Battles to Protect Home School Families

No home school family should endure prolonged court battles because of accusations made by non-parents.

THSC recently made progress in protecting parental rights when Sen. Brandon Creighton and Rep. James White filed the Case Deadlines bills SB 1019 and HB 1361 in the ongoing 85th Texas legislative session.

The Case Deadlines bills apply the same deadlines to family law cases currently required in Child Protective Services (CPS) cases.

In a CPS case where the state accuses parents of being abusive or neglectful, CPS must complete the case within 12 months. There is an allowance of a six-month extension if necessary.

However, when a non-parent files for visitation or custody against a fit parent—defined as adequately caring for the child—the case has no deadline and often drags on for years. That would change with this new legislation.

Why “Temporary” Does Not Prevent Prolonged Court Battles

Currently, a judge may issue a temporary order to give the non-parent limited access to the child, as determined on a case-by-case basis.

Temporary orders are intended to provide a short-term solution while the case is investigated. However, there is no deadline, which removes a safety net to ensure the case is resolved in a timely manner.

Many prolonged court battles turn into a spending war between the fit parent and the party seeking access to the child.

Additionally, temporary orders cannot be appealed to a higher court. This combination works against fit parents to potentially lose their children without accusations of abuse or neglect.

Home school dad Jim Loose is a prime example of how parents were hurt by this legal process. When Jim’s former in-laws filed for possession of Jim’s daughter, Maddy, she was removed from the home for three years. This was despite no accusation of abuse or neglect. Maddy had to wait until the case concluded before returning to her father’s care.

THSC is grateful to Senator Creighton and Representative White for taking this bold step to protect Texas families. SB 1019 and HB 1361 will apply the same one-year deadline required in CPS cases to temporary orders in conservatorship, access and possession cases in the Family Code. This protects parents and children from undue financial burden, family trauma and prolonged court battles.

As always, THSC appreciates your support of our efforts to protect Texas families. Please consider becoming a THSC member or donating your best gift to protect the future of home schooling and parental rights in Texas. Fighting for this cause is one of the many ways THSC is Keeping Texas Families Free!