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Understanding the Child Custody Process in Texas

As a parent, the relationship between you and your children is one of the most valuable ones. Unfortunately, when parents break up or divorce, that relationship is impacted significantly. In addition to going through the complicated legal process that comes with the end of a marriage, there's also the added stress of navigating child custody laws.

Rest assured, our team at Calfas Law Group, PLLC understands how important cases that involve children are. We will be the advocates you need to ensure that your child’s best interests are protected. We’ve put together this child custody guide to help you prepare for the process that’s ahead.

Texas Conservatorship Laws

In Texas, child custody is known as conservatorship, and it’s the word used to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. Additionally, instead of referring to parents as custodians, they are known as conservators.

If parents are unable to reach an agreement on a custody plan, then the courts will have to make the decision. One of the most important things that you need to know is that Texas courts presume that it’s in a child’s best interest for both parents to share joint conservatorship. However, their biggest concern when making decisions is what is in the best interest of the child. For example, if there’s a history of domestic violence, then the courts may grant one parent with sole conservatorship,

What Rights Do Conservators Have?

  • Inquire and participate in the child’s health, education, after school activities, etc.

  • Make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, or legal needs

  • Be designated as an emergency contact and consent to emergency medical treatment

  • Have access to the child’s medical, psychological, and educational records

The Two Types of Child Conservatorship Arrangements

Joint Managing Conservatorship

This is the arrangement when both parents equally share the rights and duties of raising their child. The most common order is to have one parent as the primary conservator, while the other parent who has visitation rights is the non-primary conservator. In other states, this is what you would call legal custody. As we mentioned before, the presumption is to name both parties are joint managing conservators. Research has shown that children do best when they have both parents playing an active role in raising them, which is what public policy reflects.

Sole Managing Conservatorship

Sole managing conservatorship is when only one parent has the legal right to decide on the child's life and well-being. When there are negative factors that go against the child’s best interest, this arrangement will be granted. Those include domestic violence, substance abuse, being absent from the child’s life, and a history of extreme conflict between the parents.

Possession and Access

Texas uses the terms possession and access instead of physical custody and visitation, respectively. A parent has possession when the child is under his or her care, while access is the broader term that refers to the communication and presence a parent has with their child. If parents cannot agree on a schedule, the judge will order one that he or she believes is appropriate. Leaving this decision in the hands of a judge can be worrisome because the outcome is often unpredictable. We recommend parents to settle these matters outside of the courtroom through mediation or negotiations with the guidance of a lawyer.

Determining Conservatorship in Texas

When courts have to decide on conservatorship, they will consider everything from the parenting history, where the child physically lived, and which parent made most of the decisions on education and medical care. Additional factors include the following:

  • The age of the children

  • The current health needs of the children

  • The location of the proposed residence to the child's school

  • The child's relationship/access to other family members

  • The child's preference (if they are old enough)

  • Any special needs the child has

Contact a Skilled San Antonio Child Custody Lawyer

Cases involving children can be some of the most emotionally difficult ones. Understandably, you’ll have a lot of questions about the process. Do not hesitate to reach out to our team at Calfas Law Group, PLLC, and we’ll be happy to answer any and all inquiries regarding your child custody matter.

Contact Calfas Law Group, PLLC at 210-405-8315 to get started on a free consultation with one of our child custody attorneys today.