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San Antonio Child Custody LawyerWhen parents need to address child custody issues in family court, some of the key decisions will be related to the conservatorship of their children. In Texas, conservatorship refers to the legal rights and responsibilities of parents regarding their children. It determines who has the right to make important decisions about a child's upbringing, such as their education, healthcare and medical treatment, and religious participation and training. In addition to conservatorship, parents will also need to determine how physical possession and access to their children will be handled.

Types of Conservatorship

In Texas, there are two types of conservatorship:

Joint Managing Conservatorship

Joint managing conservatorship is the most common type of conservatorship in Texas. In these cases, both parents will share the rights and responsibilities for making decisions about their children's upbringing. However, it does not necessarily mean that the parents will have equal amounts of possession and access. Children may live with one parent most of the time while still spending reasonable amounts of time with the other parent.


Decisions about the medical treatment that people receive are deeply personal. Your sense of ethics, your religion and personal history with medical professionals may all influence what care you choose to receive. Your preferences may also have an impact on what medical care you want your children to receive.

If you and your ex have differing ideas about the right treatment for your children or even what medical professionals should provide their care, how can you resolve those issues in a shared custody scenario in Texas?

Your parenting plan will talk about medical care

Whether the Texas family courts create a parenting plan or approve one created by the parents, there will typically be a section within the document discussing decision-making authority. It is common for parents to share such authority.


Parental alienation is a very serious issue that does happen in divorce cases. It has been studied by experts and found to be a real phenomenon that has a detrimental impact on the child. Essentially, parental alienation has been defined as a situation in which “one parental figure has waged a psychological campaign to, baselessly, turn a child against the other parent.”

For instance, your spouse may have blamed you for the upcoming divorce and slowly tried to manipulate the child into thinking that everything was your fault or that you are fundamentally a bad person. What they’re trying to do is get the child to want to spend more time with them or to not want to spend any time with you. Parental alienation is so damaging because the child may not even realize it’s happening. This can cut them off from contact with their other parent, which can hinder their development as they grow up.

Are people claiming that it’s happening when there’s no evidence?

The problem here is that some studies have found that parental alienation is being misused. There are cases in which some experts feel it should not apply, but it is at least being claimed.


It is common for divorcing parents to have a hard time agreeing on custody matters. Thankfully, Texas has laws in place to help navigate these predictable conflicts. The courts can help support parents trying to negotiate custody arrangements and can also apply state law to high-conflict scenarios where independent resolution between the parents is unlikely.

When the courts have to make those big decisions about custody arrangements, the goal is to set terms that reflect the best interests of the children. Sometimes, the courts will ask one or even both parents to undergo a court-ordered psychological evaluation as part of the custody proceedings.

When are such evaluations necessary?


In Texas, there is a standard possession order applying to custody cases. Right now, it is a standard order that 75% of custody will go to one parent while 25% goes to the other. This is an older rule that could be updated to reflect a more modern 50/50 split with the option to adjust it as fitting based on the parents’ situations.

Parents in Texas have been arguing to have the assumed standard possession order changed to 50/50 custody because not doing so is encouraging fighting and litigation. Parents who don’t litigate to make themselves seem like the parent who should get primary custody currently may find that they end up only getting to see their child around 25% of the time.

50/50 shared custody is the goal for many parents

Many parents want to have a 50/50 custody schedule. They also want to make sure that fathers are getting the right amount of time with their children. The attorney general’s office has admitted that only around 8% of custodial parents are men in Texas. Some believe that this places an unfair burden on women because there is an assumption that they will take over a motherly role following a divorce rather than getting equal support from their child’s father.

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