Parents who divorce are naturally concerned about what their relationship with their child will look like moving forward. They want to spend as much time as possible with their child and raise their child in a way they seem fit, while still allowing their child to have a relationship with the child’s other parent. For this reason, Texas law addresses conservatorship and possession in Texas child custody cases.
What is joint managing conservatorship in Texas?
All states have legal provisions regarding a parent’s ability to make key life decisions on behalf of their child. Education, medical care and religion are all types of key life decisions a parent will have to make following their divorce. While many states refer to this as “legal custody” Texas law refers to this as “managing conservatorship.”
Texas law does not presume that either mothers or fathers are best suited to be conservators based on their gender alone. Instead, the law presumes that it is in the best interests of the child for parents will share “joint managing conservatorship,” unless otherwise shown by the evidence of the case or unless domestic violence or abandonment is an issue. In those instances, one parent will be assigned “sole managing conservatorship.”
What is a standard possession order in Texas?
A parent’s right to physical custody of their child is referred to as “possessory conservatorship” in Texas. Even if parents share joint managing conservatorship this does not imply that each parent will have possession of their child for exactly 50% of the time. Texas law recognizes that it is important for a child to have frequent contact with both parents so that a close and continuing relationship can be maintained. This will result in the award of a standard possession order that outlines which parent has the child in their care and when.
Parents are free to negotiate their own standard possession plan if the plan is in the child’s best interests. Otherwise, Texas law provides guidelines that it will use if anything other than a standard possession order should be awarded. For example, the child’s developmental stage, best interests and each parent’s circumstances will be examined as will any other relevant factors.
Ultimately, the child’s best interests will prevail
When it comes to awarding conservatorship and possession in Texas, ultimately the best interests of the child will prevail. Children deserve to be safe with both parents and to develop a healthy relationship with both parents. Parents who divorce will have to make every effort to cooperate in the raising of their child post-divorce to ease the effects of divorce on their child.