When it comes to child custody determinations, the most important concern for the judge is to make a decision that puts the child’s best interests first. Unfortunately, the judge’s decision may not be exactly what you hoped for or worse than what your spouse offered to you initially.
What You Should Know About Child Custody in Texas
Under Texas law, child custody is called a “conservatorship.” Parents are called “custodians.”
The court grants parents a conservatorship over their children’s care. The conservatorship encompasses the legal rights and responsibilities of being a parent—not where the kids sleep each night or when they visit the other parent. A conservatorship will be either a joint-managing conservatorship or a sole-managing conservatorship.
Texas law favors granting both parents equal and joint rights when it comes to making decisions about your children’s health and welfare. In this arrangement, both parents share the rights and duties of being parents. However, even in this kind of conservatorship, it is still possible that the judge may grant only one parent the right to make certain kinds of decisions if it is in the child’s best interest to do so.
In this arrangement, the judge grants the legal right to make decisions to only one parent. For example, the sole-managing parent may have the exclusive right to:
- Determine where the child will reside
- Consent to medical and dental treatment, including psychiatric and psychological treatment
- Be the designated emergency contact
- Attend school activities
- Make decisions about education and activities
A judge would grant a sole-managing conservatorship, for example, in one of the following situations:
- If one parent has a history of neglect or violence, drug or alcohol use or criminal activity
- If one parent has been absent from the child’s life
- If the parents have been unable to agree in the past on medical, educational or religious issues.
What Are Your Rights as a Parent Conservator?
In either type of conservatorship, you have the right to:
- Get information from the other parent about your child’s health, education and well being
- Access records and discuss your child’s medical issues with your child’s doctor, dentist, psychiatrist or other medical professional
- Discuss your child’s welfare, educational progress and after-school activities with school officials
Contact Us to Discuss Your Custody Rights
Barring any past abuse issues, it is difficult for most parents to let go of their children in a divorce. It’s hard to see past the current day’s events and look at the long-term effect of what you are fighting about with the child’s other parent. That’s where your divorce and custody attorney can help. An experienced attorney knows what factors the judge will consider when making custody decisions and help you weight all your options.
Our attorneys will explain your options and help you through the child custody process. Contact us for a consultation if you are thinking about divorce.