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What is Guardianship?


Guardianship and child custody are very different terms in Texas. Our Texas family lawyer explains the differences between the two terms.

The terms child custody and guardianship are often used interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. If you are a parent in Texas, or you are seeking guardianship or child custody of a minor, learn the important information you need to know below.

The Conservatorship Laws in Texas

The first thing to know is that Texas does not actually use the term ‘child custody’ during divorce or separation. Instead, the law uses the term ‘conservatorship.’ In most cases, one or both parents are the conservators of a child. In some cases, however, a court may appoint a non-parent to be the conservator of a child. A child can also have more than one conservator, which is often the case when two parents get divorced or separated.

The Guardianship Laws in Texas

While the conservatorship laws in Texas are covered under the family code, guardianship is covered by probate law. Individuals can only become a guardian of a ward, or another person if they meet the following criteria:

  • The ward is a minor,
  • The ward is physically or mentally incapacitated and cannot care for themselves, or
  • The ward is someone who must have a guardian to receive government funding.

The probate laws of the state define a guardian as one who will promote and protect the well-being of the ward.

Guardianship or Conservatorship During Divorce

When parents get a divorce, a conservatorship will almost always be an issue the two parties or a court must resolve. However, there are rare instances when the issue of guardianship can also arise during divorce. This will only occur if the rights of both parents are terminated. For example, if it is found during the divorce process that both parents abused a minor child, they may both lose their parental rights. In this case, a guardian would have to be appointed. In any other instance, conservatorship must be decided.

In the best of circumstances, parents can reach a conservatorship agreement together. If the plan is in the child’s best interests, the court will approve the plan and it will become official. Reaching an agreement with your spouse will allow you to retain control and make an arrangement that is suitable for both of you. If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse, the court will make the decision about conservatorship, and you will have very little input on the issue.

Our Family Lawyer in Texas Can Help with Your Conservatorship Issues

Conservatorship and guardianship are very different issues under Texas law. At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, our Texas family lawyer can help you draft a conservatorship plan with your spouse that will be enforced by the courts and is most favorable for you. Call us now at (210) 222-9132 or fill out our online form to request a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys and get the legal advice you need.