Texas laws can be somewhat unique — including the rules surrounding child custody. The terminology used and the way that custody is divided in this state may surprise you.
Here are some of the basics you need to know about child custody issues in Texas:
It conservatorship, not custody.
In this state, you don’t gain custody of a child. You are named the child’s conservator. Conservatorship is decided based on what the court determines is in the best interests of the children.
There’s more than one kind of conservatorship.
Conservatorship gives you the right to access your child’s school records, medical record and other important information related to their wellbeing. It also gives you the right to consent to medical treatment and other important issues.
You can be named the sole managing conservator for a child or share joint managing conservatorship with your child’s other parent. If you are joint conservators, you are generally required to share in any decisions that the court hasn’t placed solely on one person’s shoulders.
Conservatorship doesn’t necessarily mean physical custody.
Your status as the child’s conservator or joint conservator doesn’t automatically mean you share physical custody of a child. In Texas, “possession and access” to a child is controlled by a standard possession order (or whatever visitation schedule the parties agree upon). Even if one parent is the sole managing conservator, in charge of all major decisions about the child, the other parent can still have possession and access to the child as the court allows.
Child custody issues in Texas can be terribly complicated. They aren’t something you should try to handle without experienced legal assistance.