Child Custody – What Are Your Options?

Here in Texas, the courts use terms for custody of children that you may not be familiar with.

  1. Managing Conservator: The parent/s who can provide for consent for the child’s medical and mental health treatment. The managing conservator/s also has the right to make many decisions on behalf of the client, such as decisions regarding their education.
  2. Possessory Conservator: The parent who has the right to spend time with the child according to a court-approved visitation schedule. The Possessory Conservator will also typically be ordered to pay child support.

Types of Custody Cases

Joint Custody:

When parents are awarded joint custody, they will be known as “Joint Managing Conservators.” Both parents will have the right to make decisions for the child. One of the parents may get to decide the primary residence of the child and be able to use their address to enroll the children in school. Joint Managing Conservators do not always share physical custody equally. One parent may have possession based on a “standard possession order.”

Sole Custody:

A parent can be ordered Sole Managing Conservator under certain circumstances. Being the Sole Managing Conservator means that the parent is awarded legal and physical custody of the child and gets to make all decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. For a judge to order a parent to be Sole Managing Conservator they will look at factors such as:

  • A history or pattern of family violence
  • Evidence that one parent has engaged in any form of neglect or abuse of the child
  • One of the parents is unfit to care for the child due to substance abuse issues or mental health issues

Temporary Custody:

Although it is not permanent, gaining temporary custody of your child at a temporary orders hearing can be an important step in the litigation process. It is a short-term arrangement until the case can be finalized. If you and the other parent of your child cannot come to an agreement on custody and possession of your child when the lawsuit is filed, a judge can make “temporary orders” after hearing evidence from both parties.