If you’re going through a divorce or are considering one, you might have questions about your children. Will you receive custody of your children? Will your spouse? Is there even such a thing as full custody in Texas? All of these questions can be answered by learning more about Texas’ child custody laws.
Child Custody: Understanding Conservatorship in Texas
First, let’s define some key terms. In Texas, custody is known as “conservatorship.” This term refers to how Texas courts decide how both parents will share custody of a child. Texas courts also use the terms “possession” and “access” when referring to visitation.
Types of Conservatorships in Texas
If you receive court-ordered custody of a child, you’ll be known as the child’s conservator. There are three different types of conservators in Texas, including:
- Sole managing conservator: Sole or full custody in Texas is known as sole managing conservatorship. These conservators have the right to make most of the decisions on behalf of the child. This type of conservatorship is often granted when violence, abuse or parental absence is present in a relationship.
- Joint managing conservator: This type of conservatorship is the most common in Texas. Also known as joint custody, this type enables both you and your ex-spouse to make decisions regarding your child.
- Possessory conservator: The spouse that doesn’t receive sole custody will become the possessory conservator. Although they still have parental rights, they don’t have the final say when it comes to making decisions on behalf of the child. The possessory conservator still has visitation rights or the ability to “possess” the child at times outlined in a visitation schedule.
How Is Conservatorship Determined in Texas?
In Texas, it’s encouraged for both parents to continue co-parenting their children. Yet, final decisions regarding conservatorship or custody are made by the court. They will first consider what method is in the best interest of your child.
For example, the court will consider the child’s wishes (if they’re old enough), the physical needs of the child, the stability of the home environment, and whether there’s evidence of violence or abuse.