Understanding Child Custody Laws in Texas

Parents are often faced with difficult decisions. Divorce is no exception. While young children might not realize how the divorce process can impact their life, the fact of the matter is that a child’s life will be different post-divorce. No matter the age of a child, parents much decide what custody arrangement is best for everyone involved, even if losing parenting time, can be a difficult reality to accept. However, understanding your rights as they relate to the laws in your state is imperative.

In the state of Texas, child custody is termed conservatorship. Additionally, parents are not referred to as “custodians” but rather “conservators,” and their legal rights and responsibilities are called “conservatorship.” Unless parents are able to come to an agreement either via a method such as mediation, or simple negotiation, divorcing parents will need the assistance of a judge to determine the appropriate terms of a conservatorship.

The best interests standard is used in Texas and is the most important factor when deciding a conservatorship plan that is in the best interests of the child or children involved. A judge could come up with one of two types of conservatorship: joint managing conservatorship, which is like joint custody or co-parenting relationship, or sole managing conservatorship, which is sole custody.

The rights of conservatorship are fairly common to any parent who has legal custody of their child. This includes the right to get information from the other parent regarding health, education, and welfare of the child, access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child, the ability to talk to any medical providers of the child, to right to talk to school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status and the ability to consent to medical, dental and surgical treatment.

Reaching a fair and workable child custody agreement can be challenging. Parents may not see eye-to-eye; however, this should not prevent them from working through this issue. Those dealing with this or any other family law issue should understand how they can address it, protect their rights and resolve the matter.

Source: Findlaw.com, “Child Custody in Texas,” accessed July 9, 2017

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