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What Is a Conservatorship Under Texas Family Law?

Posted on in Child Custody

Texas family lawyerIn Texas, family law courts use the term conservatorship to describe the responsibilities, duties, and rights of parents towards their children. Essentially, the term is used to describe what many other states refer to as custody. There are two types of conservatorship in Texas: sole managing conservatorships and joint managing conservatorships. The type chosen by the courts depends on the specific circumstances of each case, so if you are considering divorce and have questions about your legal rights or duties as a parent and how they could be affected by the dissolution of your marriage, it is important to contact a complex child custody attorney who can address your concerns.

Sole Managing Conservatorships

Parents who are appointed as sole managing conservators are given primary responsibility for raising their child. For example, sole managing conservators can decide where their child will live, can consent to medical treatments, have the right to receive child support payments, and can make decisions regarding their child’s education and employment. Texas courts presume that joint managing conservatorships are in the best interests of a child, so sole managing conservatorships are rare. In most cases, courts will only award one parent sole conservatorship if:

  • There is a history of family violence;
  • One parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse or involvement in criminal activity;
  • The other parent has been largely absent from the child’s life;
  • One parent does not wish to share parenting responsibilities; or
  • There is a history of extreme conflict between the parents regarding child-rearing decisions.

Ultimately, courts will consider a series of factors before determining whether sole or joint conservatorship is appropriate in a specific case, although the best interest of the child is of primary concern. Although courts are permitted and encouraged to assess all factors that surround a child’s life, they are prohibited from discriminating against a parent because of his or her sex or marital status.

Joint Managing Conservatorships

When parents are appointed as joint managing conservators, they are required to share parental rights, duties, and powers, such as making decisions regarding their child’s medical treatment, education, and religion. However, even in these situations, courts may choose to designate one parent as being responsible for deciding where the child will primarily reside. This individual is referred to as the primary joint managing conservator and is also known as a custodial parent. The child’s other parent is called a possessory conservator because he or she still has the right to visitation with the child, as well as the right to receive information from the other parent about the child’s health, education, or welfare. This includes the right to have access to a child’s medical and school records.

Get the Legal Representation You Deserve

To speak with a dedicated Leander complex child custody attorney about what type of conservatorship is best for your child, please contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC today. A member of our legal team is standing by and eager to assist you.



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