Texas family law defines child custody as “conservatorship.” Under this law, the primary consideration in any custody decision is “the best interest of the child.” Many factors can impact the decision-making and access rights of a parent to his or her child in the event of separation or divorce. However, Texas courts have established public policy that favors “frequent and continuing contact” with parents who have shown their willingness and ability to do what is best for their child(ren) and who have provided stable homes for them.
At Bastine Law Group, we understand that the issue of custody and visitation can be one of the most stressful and divisive issues in family law because of the intense emotions attached to the parent-child relationship. Whether you are involved in a current custody matter in a pending divorce or a post-divorce need for custody modification or enforcement, we will work to help you create the best possible situation for you and your children.
Conservatorship defines the rights and responsibilities a parent is granted by courts in connection with his or her child(ren). Courts can grant conservatorship to either one parent or both depending on the facts of the case. As mentioned above, however, courts prefer children to have the benefit of a relationship with both parents where possible.
A conservatorship gives a parent the right to make major decisions related to the child’s life, from health to schooling, religious upbringing, extra-curricular activities, and more. It also gives a parent the right to have physical access to the child, such as having the child live with the parent or the parent having visitation rights.
Three types of conservatorship exist that may be used by courts as follows:
In the majority of cases, a joint managing conservatorship (JMC) is awarded. This gives both parents physical and legal rights to a child. Only in cases where it is viewed unsafe for a child is sole managing conservatorship awarded. This generally occurs in cases where a parent has a history of domestic violence, child neglect or abuse, substance abuse, or where a parent is incarcerated or cannot care for a child due to some circumstance.