Child custody rights and responsibilities

In Texas, when parents who do not live together disagree on child custody rights and responsibilities, a court will decide the matter for them. As in other states, its basis for making these decisions will always be the “best interests of the child.” To protect those interests, a court may appoint a person to investigate the situation and report back, such as an attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem.

Under Texas law, a person responsible for the care of a child is known as a conservator. In most cases, both parents are named as conservators even if only one has physical custody. Conservators have the right to information concerning the child’s health, education and welfare. They also have the right to confer with the other parent, school officials and medical practitioners as well as the right to be notified in case of an emergency and make emergency medical treatment decisions if warranted.

When a child is in the care of one conservator, that person’s rights and duties mirror those for parents who live together. A conservator in possession of a child is responsible for caring for the child and for providing basic necessities such as food and shelter, and they have the right to direct the moral and religious training for the child. In most cases, one parent will be designated the primary managing conservator and will determine where the child will live. The other parent is known as the non-custodial parent.

Non-custodial parents have the right to temporary custody of their child on certain days of the week or month and on special occasions such as holidays, birthdays and vacations. Should a custody dispute arise, a parent might want to speak with an attorney who has experience in family law to see what options are available for resolving the dispute.

Source:, “Visitation Rights and Responsibilities”, August 19, 2014

Source:, “Visitation Rights and Responsibilities”, August 19, 2014