Types of Child Custody in Texas

by Ricardo Barrera

Types of Child Custody in Texas

The main categories of child custody in Texas are sole conservatorship and joint conservatorship. There are also other relevant but less common custody arrangements like third-party-non-parent-custody, temporary custody, and split custody. 

The custody arrangement ordered by the court will determine the parents’ legal custody, meaning power over how they want to raise their child, and physical custody, meaning actual possession of their child. 

The rest of this article will explore what these custody arrangements mean for you and your child and what rights you will have under each type of arrangement. 

What Does Custody Mean for You and Your Child?

Parental conservatorship is broken down into two parts. 

First, legal conservatorship means the parents’ right to make everyday decisions about how to raise the child. This includes the child’s education, their nutrition, their religious practices, and their medical needs. Custody of the child usually relates to the right of the parent to designate the residence of the child, so that school, medical providers, and other agencies are aware of the parent who has that right.

Joint Conservatorship

Joint conservatorship is the arrangement most favored by Texas courts. Under this type of arrangement, both parents have the right to be involved in decisions about how the child is raised. 

However, one parent will usually be the primary physical custodian of the child. With joint conservatorship, the child will usually have some sort of visitation schedule with the other parent. 

The courts favor this type of arrangement because it is generally thought to be in the best interest of the child to have both parents involved in their upbringing. 

But there are exceptions where sole managing conservatorship is appropriate: 

Sole Managing Conservatorship

In some circumstances, the court may decide that it is in the child’s best interest to be raised by one parent. This arrangement is called sole custody or sole managing conservatorship. 

This type of arrangement is usually made when the noncustodial parent is not suitable to be responsible for a child. In these situations, the parent with sole custody will make all of the day-to-day decisions about how the child should be raised. Examples of these occur when there is clear issues of neglect, substance abuse, abuse of the child, and violation of basic protocols for the health, education, and safety of the child. Inability to co-parent may also be a factor the Court’s consider. 

However, the noncustodial parent may still likely be able to visit the child in some cases, sometimes without supervision, sometimes with safeguards in place. 

Other Types of Child Custody in Texas

There are a few other terms and arrangements related to custody in Texas that you may want to understand. These are less common than joint or sole custody arrangements, but they may be relevant to your particular situation: 

  • Third-party custody. When both parents are absent or unable to adequately care for the child, the child may be placed in someone else’s custody, such as a relative. 
  • Possessory conservatorship. This is the type of custody that a parent has when the other parent was awarded sole custody. This term means you still have some rights to see the child, but you do not have control over how they are raised. 
  • Temporary custody. This is the arrangement made for the child until the court can come to a final decision on what is best for the child.

Final Thoughts: Texas Child Custody Types

Ultimately the types of custody arrangements in Texas are all about choosing which arrangement is going to be best for the child. 

These arrangements will outline which parent or custodian will be able to make decisions about the child’s upbringing (legal custody) and where the child will physically live. Usually, that arrangement will be a joint custody agreement between two parents. 

In some cases, though, only one parent will be fit to raise the child and will be awarded sole custody. In other cases, the court may need to give custody to a third party. 

Family law and child custody arrangements can be hard to navigate alone. Contact the Barrera Law Firm online today for help with your family law matter or give us a call at 956-428-2822.



for your FREE consultation

An attorney will evaluate
your claim.