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How is child custody determined in Texas?

| Mar 16, 2021 | Family Law |

In Texas, child custody is known as conservatorship and is generally divided between a child’s two parents. However, conservatorship outcomes are based on the factors relevant to each and every individual case. It is impossible to predict how one person’s case will resolve based on the outcomes of others; individuals who have questions about custody and conservatorship can always take their concerns to their trusted family law attorneys.

This informational post does not provide its readers with any legal advice. Instead, it offers general information on types of conservatorship in Texas and rights parents may retain when they end their marriages in divorce. Custody and conservatorship are important family law matters, and individuals can approach these matters with confidence and trusted legal support.

Joint vs. sole conservatorship in Texas

Conservatorship rights in Texas may be divided between parents or given exclusively to one parent. When it is shared, it is called joint conservatorship, and when it is given to one parent it is called sole conservatorship.

Parents can hold exclusively or share the rights to have their kids live with them and to make decisions about their upbringing. If parents act with their children’s best interests in mind and can work together, they may end up with a relatively even shared conservatorship split. However, if a parent cannot provide a safe environment for a child or cannot make decisions in the child’s best interests, they may be denied conservatorship rights and the other parent may be given sole conservatorship responsibilities.

What about visitation?

When a parent is denied conservatorship over their child, they may wish to secure visitation rights. Visitation is called possession of and access to a child in Texas, and it gives a parent the right to spend time with their child outside of a custodial or conservatorship relationship. Possession and access to a child may be denied if a parent poses a danger to the child and cannot properly provide care for them during their time together.

Can conservatorship rights change over time?

It is important for parents to remember that conservatorship orders must be followed. If parents deviate from orders issued by the courts, they may be subject to enforcement proceedings. However, if parents cannot follow conservatorship orders because of changes in their own lives or the lives of their children, they can seek modifications to those orders to accommodate their new circumstances.

Before seeking to change a child conservatorship order, a parent may benefit from speaking with their trusted family law attorney. Their legal counselor can advise them of their rights and options to secure modifications. As with all family law matters, it is important that parents understand their rights and options to conservatorship. Their attorneys can guide them through the many necessary steps to protect their kids as the parents end their relationships.