Texas Conservatorship Overview
Conservatorship Meaning in Texas – Is Conservatorship the Same as Custody?
One of the most typical concerns for families going through a divorce in Texas is how it will affect each parent’s rights regarding their children. In Texas, the term “custody” is legally known as conservatorship. Conservatorship in Texas determines the legal rights and duties that each parent has regarding the child.
Types of Conservatorship in Texas
In Texas, there are three types of conservators – sole managing conservators, joint managing conservators, and possessory conservators.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
In a sole managing conservatorship (SMC), one parent is appointed managing conservator and the other parent is appointed as the possessory conservator.
The parent who is named as the sole managing conservator has the sole legal right to make certain decisions concerning the child, including but not limited to medical and educational decisions. The parent who is named as the sole possessory conservator is awarded visitation rights, meaning the parent can make decisions for the child only while the child is in their possession.
Joint Managing Conservatorship
In a joint managing conservatorship (JMC), it is presumed to be in the best interest of the child for the parents to be named joint managing conservators.
With a joint managing conservatorship in Texas, the parents share rights and duties. However, exclusive rights—such as the right to designate the residence of the child and the right to receive child support—may be awarded to one party. A parent cannot be appointed a JMC if there is a history or pattern of past or present child neglect or physical or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child.
One of the most common misconceptions of joint managing conservatorship is that the parents have equal or almost equal possession of the child. Conservatorship ONLY addresses the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child and has no effect on actual possession time.
A parent may be named the Possessory Conservator if the other parent was named the Sole Managing Conservator. In rarer circumstances where a non-parent — such as a grandparent — is named the Sole Managing Conservator, then the court may name both biological parents as Possessory Conservators.
In essence, Possessory Conservators have rights to possession and access of their child, but no rights when it comes to final decision-making on the child's behalf.
Learn more about sole managing conservatorship and joint managing conservatorship in Texas. Call Simple Texas Divorce at (940) 236-0972 today!