If you are contemplating a Texas divorce and have children, it is imperative you are familiar with the state’s custody terminology and method of determining child custody. While this is only a brief overview of Texas child custody, it will help you prepare for your meeting with an experienced San Antonio child custody attorney.
Conservatorship in Texas
Texas uses the term “conservatorship” to refer to child custody. There are two types of conservatorships available to parents: “managing conservatorship” and “possessory conservatorship.”
Managing conservatorship is akin to legal custody and refers to the decision-making power a parent has on behalf of their child. Possessory conservatorship refers to the parent with whom the child resides.
In Texas, parents may share conservatorship, or one parent may be the child’s sole conservator. These arrangements are known as either:
- Joint managing conservatorship (JMC); or
- Sole managing conservatorship (SMC).
Rights in a Texas Conservatorship
The parental rights in a Texas conservatorship typically include the following:
- Access to information from the other parent about the health, education, and welfare of the child
- Access to the medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child
- The ability to speak with the child’s physician, dentist, or psychologist about the child
- The ability to speak with talk to school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities
- The ability to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment in the event of an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child
Presumption of Joint Managing Conservatorship
Texas code typically presumes that both parents should share managing conservatorship or have a joint managing conservatorship allowing both parents to maintain the right to make decisions on behalf of the child.
A sole managing conservatorship may be awarded if it is in the best interests of the child. The court may grant an SMC when there the other parent has a history of:
- Family violence or neglect
- Drugs, alcohol, or other criminal activity
- Absence from the child’s life
- Extreme conflict with the other parent over educational, medical, and religious values
Child Visitation in Texas
In Texas, visitation is called possession of and access to a child. Visitation is permitted unless it is against the best interests of the child and will endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child.
The judge creates a visitation schedule or standard possession order (SPO), using specific guidelines or a schedule more appropriate under the circumstances. However, it is preferable that parents agree to their own SPO.
Factors in Determining Conservatorship
When the court must determine conservatorship, it considers several factors. The guiding factor is always in the best interests of the child.
Other considerations include:
- The physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child, both current and future
- The ability of each parent to follow through on parental duties
- The desires of the child (should the child be of age to make a rational decision)
- The stability of each living situation
- The presence of any danger to the child, both current and future
- The plans that each parent has for the child if granted conservatorship
- Any actions taken or not taken that may indicate a parent does not have the proper relationship with the child
- Any reason for those actions or non-actions that the parent may have
Speak with an Experienced San Antonio Attorney Today
If you are in the midst of a divorce or require a child custody modification, reach out to a San Antonio family law attorney at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, today. Our experienced attorneys will gladly help you create a realistic custody plan that meets your parenting needs.
Get answers to your most complex child custody questions from a professional. Schedule a confidential consultation at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC. We will guide you through the Texas child custody process and work tirelessly on behalf of you and your most valuable asset, your children.