Types of Custody in Texas
Any custody issue has the potential to be highly contested. As parents,
we want what’s best for our children, and we fight for what we believe
is right. This can make an otherwise amicable
divorce turn into a heated battle over custody and
Most parents that come in for a consultation with us ask how they can get
“primary custody” or “sole custody” of their children.
While this is a reasonable and expected question in a parent’s mind,
the legal term in the Texas Family Code is conservatorship. One parent
is usually given the exclusive right to designate the primary residence
of the children.
The term conservatorship encompasses many other rights, duties, and obligations
of the parents or conservators beyond the issue of the children’s
primary residence. The presumption in Texas is that parents are Joint
Managing Conservators and will make decisions jointly, such as whether
a child should have an elective surgery or receive psychological treatment.
However, there are some cases where one parent is named the Sole Managing
Conservator and the other parent is named the Possessory Conservator.
Those designations are typically reserved for the high conflict relationships,
or in a case where one parent has significant mental health or substance
abuse problems, or other issues that interfere with their ability to parent.
How is Custody Determined in Texas?
There are several factors that the courts consider when making judgments
regarding child custody in Texas. The overarching factor is the best interest
of the child. There are multiple ways to measure this, which include:
- Each parent’s home environment
- How far the parents live from each other
- Each parent’s ability to take care of the child or children
- Whether or not the parents are able to work together
- The financial situation of each parent
- The job situation of each parent (travel, work hours, etc.)
- The child’s preference when 12 years or older
- Needs of the child (both emotional and physical)
- The current extent of each parent’s relationship with the child
These are just a few of the factors a court may consider. No matter what,
the court will decide based on what it believes will be in the best interest
of the child.
Get Highly Experienced Custody Counsel
There is an unlimited number of variations within the issue of conservatorship.
Our firm works to find a structure that works best for our client and
their family. As mediators and
litigators, our Austin child custody lawyers have negotiated and formulated an infinite
number of conservatorship structures for our clients and mediation parties.