In Texas, the term “custody” is not a legal term. When you think of custody you mainly think of the days and times in which you will have your child in your possession the rights and duties as a parent to care for that child. However, in Texas those are two separate issues to be determined; there is conservatorship and access and possession. A divorce proceeding or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship case in Texas, the parents are commonly appointed Joint Managing Conservators. Your inherent rights and duties of parenthood are shared between the parents. In some cases, depending on the nature and facts of the case the court might decide to name one parent Sole Managing Conservator. In this blog, we will discuss the different types of conservators and what that may entail for you or the other parent.
When a parent is named Sole Managing Conservator, that parent will have the right (exclusive right) to make all or most of the decisions regarding the child. We’ve coined this “Ed, med and head.” More specifically, the educational decisions for the child, the medical decisions for the child and the “head” is the mental health for the child.
· Exclusive right to determine the domicile residence (usually there is a geographical restriction)
· Exclusive right to determine medical care (physicians, medications, surgeries, etc.)
· Exclusive right to determine education (schooling, educational programs, etc.)
· Reasons why Allowing the child to marry before the age of 18
you may be appointed a Sole Managing Conservator:
· The child’s desires
· The emotional and physical needs
· Danger, now and in the future
· The parental abilities of the parents
· Stability of the home environment
· Whether domestic violence has occurred
· Whether either parent has filed a false report of child abuse
The court’s first consideration is always for the best interest of the child.
When parents are named Joint Managing Conservator, the parents will share the right (possibly exclusive right for one or the other parent) to make the decisions regarding the child, as a child custody lawyer Arlington TX trusts can explain. When appointed JMC the rights and duties and even the access and possession schedule can be subject to splitting between the parents. Unfortunately, sometimes this is used in a manner that is not keeping the child’s best interest at the forefront of the case but as more or less a bargaining tool between the parents. There is a number of possibilities in which this can be set into place. Usually there is a primary parent (the parent the child lives with a majority of the time) and the non-primary parent would be awarded the “standard access and possession schedule.” Some parents agree to divvy up the exclusive rights or they decided to have the independent right after consult with the other parent. Again, this can go a number of ways depending on the facts of the case.
However, at times when there is more than one child involved, some parents seek a split custody arrangement. In a split custody arrangement, one parent will be named the SMC of one child, and the other parent will be named the SMC of the other child. Texas courts do not favor this arrangement and is seldom granted.
The last type of conservatorship is a Possessory Conservator. That parent will have visitation with the child, and will have certain duties when the child is in their possession, such as the duty to provide for the child whether its food, clothing, safety and shelter. Possessory conservators only enjoy the right to access or visit with a child under a defined schedule. Some possessory conservators have supervised visitations. Supervised visitations can be conducted by Family Court Services or by a close family member or friend. Keep in mind, they may also still be ordered to pay child support. In addition, a court may order the possessory conservator to maintain health care insurance for the child and may be ordered to be responsible for part or all of any medical expenses not covered by the insurance.
All parents whether they are managing or possessory conservators have an obligation to support the child such as providing shelter, food, clothing, education, and medical care. They also hold a duty to care for, control and protect the child while the child is in their possession and under their supervision.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into custody.