If you are a mother or father seeking a divorce in Texas, then you should know that state courts are not inclined to award custody of children to one parent. That’s because the Texas Family Code strongly recommends that parents should try to cooperate in raising their sons and/or daughters after the dissolution of the marriage.
When parents divorce, most state courts ask who will have child custody. In Texas, it’s slightly different. Courts in the Lone Star State will ask who will have child conservatorship. Wording is important here because conservatorship speaks to caring for and protecting offspring rather than, as in the case of custody, possessing them.
A Texas court may appoint either joint managing conservators or a sole managing conservator. Joint managing conservatorship means that two people (usually the parents) share the traditional rights and duties of parenthood. In joint conservatorship, the court may give a particular right or duty to each parent independently or leave them to work out those duties together. In sole managing conservatorship, those rights and duties fall to just one parent.
If one parent is appointed the sole managing conservator, that individual can decide where the child live. The other may be appointed the possessory conservator or parent with the right to visit the child according to the conditions in the court order.
Texas law focuses on the child’s best interest and supporting continuing relationships with both parents wherever possible. However, the presumption favoring joint managing conservators can be overturned by three things:
- a history of family violence
- previous relinquishment of a child’s care for at least one year
- danger that joint appointment is not in a child’s best interest because it would impair a child’s physical health or emotional development
What all of this ultimately means is that if a mother and father were decent parents during the marriage, they will likely get a chance to continue to parent as joint managing conservators after the marriage is over.
The experienced and compassionate attorneys Barrera Law Firm understand the needs of people seeking marital dissolution. If you are considering divorce, make an appointment to talk to us. We will take the time to go over what conservatorship issues are likely to come up in your divorce. Contact us today.