Understanding Conservatorship in Child Custody Cases in Texas

October 16, 2020 Posted in Child Custody

Obtaining child custody in Texas can be confusing and emotional, particularly because Texas law is a bit different than most other states regarding how child custody is addressed and defined. If you’re considering getting a divorce in Dallas and need guidance on how best to manage your child custody arrangement, you should speak with an experienced Dallas child custody lawyer that can guide you through the process. 

Texas law defines child custody as a ‘conservatorship,’ and appoints parents and individuals as one of two types of conservators: managing conservators, and possessory conservators. Managing conservators are further defined as either sole managing conservators - where only one parent has the ultimate say in what happens to their child -  or joint managing conservators, which essentially means that parents share custody of their child and any decisions made on their behalf. Generally speaking, Texas law will consider both parents to have joint conservatorship in a divorce unless one parent expressly requests sole conservatorship over their child.

To better understand which type of arrangement might work for you, let’s review what you can expect out of each type of conservatorship.

The Sole and Joint Managing Conservator’s Rights

As the sole managing conservator of a child, you essentially enjoy the sole right to make decisions on behalf of your child. You have the right to decide where the child will live, the right to consent to medical, dental, surgical, or psychological treatment, the right to receive child support payments on their behalf, make decisions about their education, represent them in court, and more. 

Conversely, if two parents are named joint managing conservators, your child custody agreement will specifically list all of the above-mentioned rights and determine whether the parents share these rights jointly, exclusively, or independently. You can design your arrangement so that some decisions must be arrived at together, while others are left to the sole discretion of one parent, and others still are decided by each parent on a case-by-case basis.

Many parents will often ask their Dallas child custody lawyer if a sole conservatorship prevents the other parent from having any rights in the child’s life. Even with a sole conservatorship, the other parent will always have a right to remain informed about any decisions being made regarding the child’s life and retain the right to be consulted on any and all decisions so they can voice their opinions and concerns. They will still have visitation rights, and rights to attend important child and family functions, as well.

Contact a Dallas Child Custody Lawyer to Learn More About Child Custody in Texas

Determining the best approach for navigating your child custody arrangement isn’t an easy process, and having the counsel of an experienced Dallas child custody lawyer can make a big difference in whether the process goes smoothly. If you’re considering a divorce in Dallas, contact us today.