Child Custody and Types of Conservatorship in Texas
Do you have children? Are you either divorced or no longer together with your children’s other parent? If so, you need to understand how child custody works in Texas.
Texas courts use the term “conservatorship” instead of the more commonly referred to term custody. Conservatorship sets out the legal rights and responsibilities of each parent. Child custody can be determined in two ways. The easiest is when the two parents agree to a custody arrangement. However, if the parents can’t come to an agreement then the courts will need to decide custody of the children.
The judge’s primary concern when establishing conservatorship is the best interest of the child. Judges consider what is in the best interest of the child and some factors may include:
- Both the physical and emotional needs of the child;
- Stability of the home;
- Each parent’s ability to parent;
- Which parent has been the primary caregiver;
- The parent’s willingness to cooperate on issues involving the children;
- For children 12 and older, the preference of the child.
The judge may grant two types of conservatorship; either Joint Managing Conservatorship (JMC) or Sole Managing Conservatorship (SMC). When a judge orders SMC only one parent has the legal authority to make decisions regarding the child.
If JMC is ordered, then both parents share the right and responsibilities making decisions regarding the child. However, JMC does not mean that both parents will have 50/50 physical custody of the child. Even with JMC the judge may distribute the authority to make certain decisions for the child to only one parent, e.g. right to determine where the child lives.
Need Further Assistance Understanding Child Custody and Types of Conservatorship in Texas?
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