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What Is Conservatorship in Texas Family Law Cases?

 Posted on July 26, 2023 in Child Custody

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.

When putting joint managing conservatorship arrangements in place, the court may allocate specific rights and duties to each parent, such as the right to make educational decisions, and the right to determine what types of medical treatment children will receive. One parent will be granted the exclusive right to determine the child's primary residence, although they will usually be subject to restrictions on where they can move with their child, which will ensure that the child will be able to maintain an ongoing relationship with the other parent.

Sole Managing Conservatorship

Sole managing conservatorship is less common, and it is typically granted in situations where one parent is deemed unfit or unable to care for the children. For example, if a parent has been convicted of domestic abuse or has not been involved in their children’s lives, the other parent may be named the sole managing conservator. In these cases, the parent who has sole conservatorship will have the exclusive right to make all major decisions regarding the children's upbringing. Most of the time, the other will still have visitation rights that will allow them to see the children on a regular basis, and during their visitation times, they will have the right and responsibility to make all appropriate decisions related to the children’s care.

Factors Considered When Addressing Conservatorship

When determining how conservatorship will be handled in Texas family law cases, the court will make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. A family court judge may take various factors into account, including:

  • The child's physical and emotional needs

  • The ability of each parent to provide for the child's needs and prioritize the child’s welfare

  • The child's preferences, if they are at least 12 years old

  • The stability of each parent's home environment

  • The parents' ability to cooperate and make joint decisions

  • Each parent’s ability to encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

  • The parents’ history of participation in child-rearing

  • Any history of domestic violence, child abuse, or other issues that could affect the child’s safety and well-being

Modifying Conservatorship Orders

Child custody orders can be modified in certain circumstances. For example, if one parent becomes unfit or unable to care for the child, the court may modify the conservatorship arrangement to protect the child's well-being. In general, a parent who requests a modification will need to show that there has been a significant change in circumstances that requires changes to conservatorship arrangements. After a parent files a petition, a hearing will be held where a judge will review the case, consider evidence and testimony provided by both parties, and make decisions about whether modifications should be made. As with other cases involving child custody, the best interests of the child will be the primary factor considered when making decisions about conservatorship modifications.

Contact a San Antonio Child Custody Lawyer

If you have questions about conservatorship, or if need assistance with a family law matter, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney. At Brandon Wong & Associates, our Bexar County conservatorship attorneys can provide guidance on how to resolve these matters successfully, and we will help you protect your rights and the best interests of your child. Contact our firm at 210-201-3832 to schedule a free initial consultation. We will discuss your case, provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions, and provide you with effective legal representation as you address issues related to child custody.

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