Ruling: 5-Year-Old Ann can’t stay with her dad.

Unrelated Man Wins Custody From Fit Father

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Read Ann's story in...

Ann is just like any other five-year-old girl.

She loves her dad and wants to live with him. He is her biological father and has never been accused of wrongdoing or a crime… But in spite of all that, she is being sent to live part-time with a man who is completely unrelated to her. Unless someone steps in…

Ann lives with her dad, Chris, in Denton County, Texas. Chris works in sales, provides for his family, loves the Texas Rangers and watching his daughter cheer.

She has lived with her dad full-time since she lost her mom two years ago.
She was happy again.

But now, everything is crashing down…


On May 8, 2019, Ann’s dad was told he would share custody of his daughter with an unrelated man.

A court ruled, although it agreed Chris was a completely fit parent who raised his daughter well, that he would have to let Ann live part-time with another man. Not a relative. A man who had been engaged to Ann’s mom for 3 months and now wants to share custody.

Ann’s dad wasn’t accused of doing anything wrong. But he was told he had to share custody anyway. Because someone else wants her.

The court gave a non-relative custody. All on the grounds that a biological father had no more right to his own daughter than someone else who wanted her. Being her parent simply didn’t make a difference.

Ann’s dad is now fighting for her at the Texas Supreme Court. If he loses, so will she.
If Ann and Chris lose, so will all Texas families. A legal precedent will be set.

The Texas Supreme Court temporarily stopped the local court from taking Ann from her dad until they hear the case.

Fact 1

Ann’s dad has never been accused of doing anything wrong.

Nobody accused Chris of being a bad father. In fact, all parties in the case acknowledged that Chris was a good father.

The court found that Chris was an entirely fit parent who raised Ann well, but still ruled that Chris had to share custody of Ann with an unrelated man who wanted her.

Fact 2

Ann’s dad is a fit parent and a good father.

Chris raised Ann with love and attention. Ann lived approximately half the time with him and half the time with her biological mother after they were separated.

Ann’s mom died in a tragic car accident in 2018. Initially, her maternal grandparents sued Chris for partial custody of Ann. However, the court of appeals dismissed the grandparents on the grounds that Chris was a fit parent who had the right to raise his own daughter. Even so, Ann still visits her grandparents regularly.

Fact 3

An unrelated man was granted shared custody of Ann without cause.

While the court of appeals agreed that Chris should be allowed to raise Ann instead of his in-laws, the trial court still decided Chris should share custody with an unrelated man.

Ann’s mom had been living with her boyfriend and was engaged 3 months before her death. Ann had lived with him off and on for no more than 6 months while they dated, since her biological parents shared custody.

When Chris sought to dismiss the maternal grandparents from the lawsuit, the boyfriend-turned-fiance of Ann’s deceased mother’s also sued for custody. The trial court then granted the unrelated man partial custody of 5-year-old Ann.

Ann was only 3 years old when she last lived with the boyfriend then-fiance. She has lived with her dad ever since. Now Ann is 5. She barely knows this man.

Take Action

Ann lost her mom and now she needs her dad.

Ann is only 5 years old. She should not be forced to live with a man she no longer knows and is not related to.

Why does this matter to us?

If this could happen to Ann, it can happen to our children.

The rights of all Texas families are at risk. This case will set a precedent.

If Ann’s dad loses his appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, legal precedent will be set for non-parents with no legitimate legal claim or connection to sue for AND win custody of children from their families.

If Chris and Ann lose, Texas families and children lose.

Ann’s case could become the most significant parental rights case in Texas history.

Take Action

Chris is fighting a battle for Ann. He is fighting for every family in Texas.

He needs your family behind him.

Step 1: Sign The Petition

Add my name to the petition asking Governor Abbott to speak up for Ann to help #LetHerStay.

15367 Signatures
Step 2: Send a Letter

Send the below message to our leaders and demand that they speak up for Ann and Chris!

  • Message will be sent to:

    Ted Cruz

    U.S. Senator (TX)

    Greg Abbott

    Governor of TX

    Dan Patrick

    TX Lt. Governor

    Your State Representative

    Your State Senator

    Dear [State Leader],

    I am writing as a concerned citizen.

    On May 8, 2019, a trial court gave partial custody of Chris Clay’s daughter to an unrelated man even though Chris had been found to be an entirely fit father.

    Chris is now battling at the Texas Supreme Court to keep his daughter, Ann.

    To be clear, Chris has not been accused of doing anything wrong. In fact, everyone agrees that Chris is a good parent. Even so, the man seeking custody of Ann is arguing that being a parent doesn’t give Chris any greater right to custody of his daughter than someone else has.

    If Chris and Ann lose their case, it could be devastating to the rights of Texas families.

    I’m asking you to prioritize reforms during this legislative interim to protect families and children from this trauma. Please help Ann stay with her dad.

    You can find more information about this case at
Step 3: Call Gov. Abbott

Call Governor Abbott and ask him to speak up to help LetAnnStay with her dad

(512) 463-1782


Talking Points:

I'm calling as a concerned citizen.

On May 8, 2019, a trial court gave partial custody of Chris Clay’s daughter, Ann, to an unrelated man even though Chris had been found to be an entirely fit father.

Ann is 5 years old and wants to live with her dad.

Chris has not been accused of doing anything wrong. In fact, everyone agrees he’s a good parent.

If Chris loses his case, it could be devastating to the rights of all Texas families.

I ask Governor Abbott to speak out against this injustice.

I ask Governor Abbott to prioritize reforms during this legislative interim and during the next legislative session in 2021 to prevent additional families from suffering this trauma.
Step 4: Donate

The battle to help Ann and #LetHerStay with her dad is expensive. Your contribution will help spread the word and increase support for Chris and Ann. Contributions are tax-deductible.

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Leaders who have spoken up to defend Ann and Chris

Ken Paxton

TX Attorney General

Tim Lambert

President, Texas Home School Coalition

Michael Farris

President, Alliance Defending Freedom

Jim Mason

President, Parental Rights Foundation

Andrew Brown

TX Public Policy Foundation – Center for Families and Children, Director

Julia Hatcher

President, Texas Association of Family Defense Attorneys

Bradley Pierce

Co-Founder, Heritage Defense Foundation

Christina Hildebrand

President, A Voice for Choice Advocacy

JoAnn Fleming

President, Grassroots America, We The People

Trayce Bradford

President, Texas Eagle Forum

Bill Zedler

TX House Representative

Bob Hall

TX Senate Agricultural Chairman

Briscoe Cain

TX House Representative

Dan Huberty

TX House Education Chairman

Donna Campbell

TX Senate Veteran Affairs – Border Security Chairwoman

James White

TX House Corrections Chairman

Jeff Leach

TX House Judiciary Chairman

Jonathan Saenz

President, Texas Values

Jonathan Stickland

TX House Representative

Matt Krause

TX House Corrections Chairman

Matt Scheafer

TX House Representative

Mayes Middleton

TX House Representative

Mike Lang

TX House Representative

Steve Toth

TX House Representative

Valoree Swanson

TX House Representative

View More
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Timeline of Ann’s Case

October 8, 2016:

Ann’s mother and father, then separated, agreed to a schedule of approximately 50/50 custody of Ann. Ann spent approximately half her time with each parent.

September 2017:

July 11, 2018:

Ann’s mother died in a tragic car accident. She and her boyfriend had become engaged 3 months before.

Ann lived with her father, Chris, full-time.

July 27, 2018:

Chris’ inlaws, the maternal grandparents of Ann, filed an intervening lawsuit seeking joint-custody of Ann with Chris. Chris had always allowed his in-laws a significant role in Ann’s life.

August 29, 2018:

The boyfriend-turned-fiancé of Ann’s mother filed an intervening lawsuit seeking joint-custody of Ann.

November 20, 2018:

The trial court denied Chris’ request to have the lawsuits by the fiancé and the grandparents dismissed.

December 11, 2018:

May 8, 2019:

July 9, 2019:

August 12, 2019:

August 13, 2019:

September 13, 2019:

The fiancé filed a response to Chris’ argument. The fiancé argued in his brief that Chris’ status as Ann’s biological father should not give him any greater right to custody than the fiancé.

September 17, 2019:

September 19 - October 4, 2019:

October 7, 2019:

The Texas Supreme Court issued an order temporarily blocking the trial court’s grant of custody to the fiancé and requesting that Chris and the fiancé provide additional briefing to the court.

November 6 - December 16, 2019:

December 17, 2019 - March 16, 2020:

March 26, 2020:

April 6, 2020:

April 21, 2020

April 22, 2020:

The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case. The arguments were hosted online via zoom and live-streamed from the court’s YouTube page.

May 15, 2020:

May 22, 2020:

June 26, 2020: