Each state has its own set of laws concerning child custody. In most cases, these laws are similar across the nation, which can be a comfort to divorcing parents. Despite the similarities, it is important for you to learn how the process works in whichever state you live in. This blog post contains a few important facts about child custody in the state of Texas.
Terminology: In this state, you may hear child custody and related issues referred to in unfamiliar terms. For example, you are probably accustomed to the phrase child custody, but in Texas the legal term for this is conservatorship. You should ask your family law attorney for an explanation of any unfamiliar terminology you hear or read.
Types of Conservatorship: Some states offer a confusing range of child custody options. In Texas, there are only two options, but they can be designed to meet the needs of the family just as effectively as the options available in other states. They are JMC (joint managing conservatorship), which is basically the same as joint custody, and SMC (sole managing conservatorship), which is another way of saying sole custody.
Conservatorship Rights: Just as in most child custody options, parents will have many rights under these child custody plans. Examples of these rights include sharing information about the child between parents and being able to talk with health care providers, school officials and other authorities about the child.
Standard Possession Order: Because it is usually in the best interests of the child, most Texas courts prefer to award joint managing conservatorships. However, it is important to understand that such a ruling does not mean parents share equal time and access to the child. The standard possession order determines how much time each parent has with the child. This order is essentially the same as a custody and visitation schedule.
As you can see, determining child custody in Texas is not that different from custody and visitation plans in other states. As always, ask your family law attorney for clarification about any terms or court rulings that you do not understand.
Source: FindLaw, “Child Custody in Texas,” accessed July 28, 2017