Friday, September 28, 2007

FAQ regarding Divorce # 11: How does Custody work in Texas?

In Texas, there are many forms of “custody” and “custodians.” We refer to these persons or entities (in the case of foster care, etc.) as “conservators.” In most situations, the parents will be named so-called “Joint Managing Conservators” (JMC); this is presumed to be best for most of Texas’ children. JMC is most similar to situations where the parents are still married and make decisions “jointly” for the best interests of their child.
Unfortunately, many times parents cannot get along and sometimes do not make decisions that are in the best interests of the children. Sometimes they make decisions based upon what is best for them, or don’t make decisions at all. In certain circumstances, if there is evidence to support a different approach or an agreement between the parents, other forms of conservatorship may come into play. A “Sole Managing Conservator” (sometimes referred to as only a “managing conservator”) generally has all of the powers of conservatorship (i.e. – the authority to consent to medical treatment involving invasive procedures, the power to designate the primary residence of the child, the power to make educational decisions) without any input from the other parent. In contrast, a “Possessory Conservator” generally has visitation rights and will usually have limited authority to make certain parental decisions while the child is in the custody of that conservator.
The rules governing conservatorship are complicated and an attorney should be consulted for specific questions as to what form of conservatorship is best suited to your particular situation.