Questions about Child Custody or Conservatorship in Texas?
Our Lewisville Child Custody Lawyers Have Answers
If you are considering divorce, or perhaps looking to receive custody of your child, our Lewisville child custody lawyers can help. Our child custody lawyers are well versed in the laws that deal with conservatorship and child custody. If you have questions about how Texas custody laws could affect your family, ask our Lewisville attorneys about your rights during a free consultation or read this overview on Texas conservatorship and child visitation rights.
Let Julian, Crowder & Shuster, P.C. give you the guidance and support you need when facing such a sensitive matter. Child custody can be an overwhelming legal issue to face, not to mention it can be a confusing process. Our family law attorneys know your situation is unique and want to give your case priority. Contact our child custody lawyers today for a free consultation.
What Does Child Custody Mean in Texas?
Custody is referred to as “conservatorship” under the Texas Family Code. Conservatorship:
- Defines the rights and duties that each conservator will have with regard to the child(ren)
- Designate the how certain decisions will be made and by who
- Outlines the responsibilities of each conservator with regard to the child
- Is not the same as possession, access or visitation
What are the Different Types of Conservators under Texas Custody Laws?
Under the Texas Family Code, it is presumed that it is in the best interest of the child(ren) that the biological parents be appointed “joint managing conservators” (often referred to as “JMCs”).
However, if one parent can overcome that rebuttable presumption, then that parent may be appointed a sole managing conservator. If a party is appointed the sole managing conservator, the other parent will be called the possessory conservator, for which the court will appoint child visitation rights.
Who Determines Where the Children Live if the Parents Have Joint Custody?
If the parents are JMCs, then a court will designate one of the conservators as the “primary.” The primary joint managing conservator will have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child(ren). The primary custodial parent will usually also have the exclusive right to receive child support.
What are the Rights of Parents If They Have Conservatorship?
A sole managing conservator would have the following exclusive rights (other rights and duties are not listed here that are the same for either case). For joint managing conservators, rights may be allocated as exclusive to one of the conservators or by agreement, or as independent rights available to both conservators. This includes your right as a parent to make decisions regarding the child’s:
- Medical treatments or surgeries
- Legal representation
What is Standard Possession for the Non-Primary Conservator?
The Texas Family Code explains child visitation rights by providing us with a Standard Possession Order or (“SPO”). The SPO provides for periods of possession with the child(ren) during weekends, holidays, spring breaks and summer vacations. The SPO is split with regard to whether the parents reside within 100 miles of each other or the parents reside more than 100 miles apart.
Does the Court Consider Where the Child Wants to Live When Deciding Primary Custody?
Yes. Once a child has reached the age of 12, the child can sign an affidavit of preference stating with which conservator the child would rather primarily live with. However, the affidavit does not guarantee that the court will designate the primary conservator based solely on the child’s preference, but the courts generally will give the child’s preference some consideration. The judge can and will overrule the child’s preference if the judge believes it is not in the child’s best interest.
What Does the Court Look for in Child Custody Cases?
The answer to this question boils down to the five words, “best interest of the child.” In making a decision as to what is in the best interest of the child, the Texas court will consider many issues, including, but not limited to the following:
- Family violence of any kind
- Sexual abuse of any kind
- Drug abuse
- Alcohol abuse
- Parental alienation of one parent by another including denial of child visitation;
discussing the litigation with the child
- Child abuse, neglect and/or endangerment
- Living conditions
- Overall well-being of the child, including the child’s family, school, grades, friends and extracurricular activities
Call Our Lewisville Child Custody Lawyers for Help with Conservatorship Under Texas Custody Laws
If you still have questions about child custody, conservatorship or visitation rights, do not hesitate to contact our child custody attorneys for a free consultation. Call (972) 315-6222 or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation. Our law office is in Lewisville, however, we represent clients in Arlington, Plano, McKinney and throughout the Dallas Metroplex area.