Types of Custody

Family Law Articles

“There really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.” Anne Lamott

Child custody is called conservatorship in Texas. Conservatorship is the right to make decisions and act on behalf of your child. There are three types of conservatorship. Joint Managing Conservatorship, Sole Managing Conservatorship and Possessory Conservatorship.

A managing conservator has the following rights and duties:

  1. The right to designate the primary residence of the child;
  2. The right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures;
  3. The right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment;
  4. The right to receive child support;
  5. The right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;
  6. The right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States;
  7. The right to make decisions concerning the child’s education;
  8. The right to the services and earning of the child;
  9. The right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States or a foreign government; and
  10. The right to apply for, renew or maintain possession of a passport for the child.

Joint Managing Conservatorship means that parents will share in the rights and duties regarding their child. There are a number of ways these can be shared from having to agree with each other, to making decisions independently, and many things in between. Sole Managing Conservatorship is when one parent will exclusively have all the managing conservator rights and duties regarding the child and the other parent will be a Possessory Conservator that does not have the managing conservatorship right and duties but still retains the right to possession of the child.

Regardless of which conservatorship is awarded, most parents will still have a lot of parenting rights and duties. Unless limited by a court order, both parents will have the following rights and duties regardless of which conservatorship is ordered by the court:

1. the right to receive information from the other conservator, concerning the health, education and welfare of the child;

2. the right to confer with the other parent before making a decision concerning the health, education and welfare of the child;

3. the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child;

4. the right to consult with the physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child;

5. the right to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities;

6. the right to attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips;

7. the right to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;

8. the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child;

9. the right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent of the parent’s family; and

10. the duty to inform the other conservator of the child in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.

Parents also have certain rights and duties only when they are in possession of their children. Those rights and duties are:

1. the duty of care, control, protection and reasonable discipline of the child; 2. the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;

3. the right to consent for the child to medical for medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and

4. the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.

When awarding conservatorship the court looks at what is in the child’s best interest. There are many factors that a court considers when deciding what is in the child’s best interest. The following are just some of the factors a court considers:

1. the age of the child;

2. the sex of the child;

3. the relationship between the parent and the child (and any siblings)

4. the capacity and resources of the parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other necessary care;

5. the preference of a child (usually not until 12 years of age);

6. evidence of abuse or family violence;

7. who has primarily provided the day-to-day care for the child;

8. special needs of the child and the parent’s ability to meet those needs;

9. the emotional needs of the child and the parent’s ability to meet those needs; and

10. any other relevant factors.

Hiring an experienced divorce attorney will help you present your best case to the court. Robin Zegen, The Dallas Divorce Attorney, uses her 30 years of experience to best present her client’s facts to the court. Call to schedule a consultation today 972-653-0448.