In Texas, when parents are not appointed as “joint managing conservators” or “JMCs” for their children, one parent is appointed as the “sole managing conservatory” or “SMC” – this is the parent who receives the exclusive rights to make decisions about medical care, mental health care, and educational decisions, as well as the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence. See Tex. Family Code § 153.132.
The other parent is appointed as “possessory conservator” or “PC”. This parent has a much more limited ability to make decisions about the child’s welfare and upbringing. See Tex. Family Code § 153.192.
However, even in situations where one parent is an “SMC,” and the other parent is a “PC,” the court will enter a standard possession order under which each parent has very similar periods of possession/custodial time, unless the courts finds a compelling reason to limit the PC’s periods of possession in the child’s best interest. Texas’ public policy (as enacted in our statutes) encourages frequent contact between a child and each parent in order to permit the child to develop a close and continuing relationship with that parent. See Tex. Family Code § 153.251(b).
Article by Cynthia W. Veidt, Attorney