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How child “custody” works in Texas

| Sep 7, 2021 | Child Custody |

When you’re going through a Texas divorce with minor children, one of the first things you need to know is the language used in the court. 

What most states refer to as “custody” is called “conservatorship” in Texas — and there are several different forms that conservatorship can take. Here’s what you need to know as you move forward.

Possessory conservators

This is what most people think of when they say “custody” because it’s the physical possession of and access to their child. 

There’s generally a presumption that possession and access to the child should be fairly and equitably divided among the divorced parents in Texas. Your possession order will detail when your child will stay with you and when you have visitation, and it can even address things like electronic visitation via phone or computer.

Managing conservators

Managing conservatorship gives you decision-making rights over important areas of your child’s life. This can include (but is not limited to) things like which school your child attends, the medical care they may receive (including vaccinations), extracurriculars they participate in and the religious education they receive.

The court may grant parents either joint managing conservatorship — which is preferred — or sole managing conservatorship over their children. Only a parent with sole managing conservatorship enjoys the right to make unilateral decisions about their child’s upbringing, but this is generally only granted when the court feels that the parents are diametrically opposed in their beliefs and unable to work together.

A divorce involving minor children can often be complicated from the beginning, so make sure you fully understand how to protect that precious parent-child relationship as you proceed.