custody in texas divorce

Conservatorships regarding child custody in divorce in the state of Texas

In the State of Texas, the term child custody does not exist and has been erased from the Texas Family Code. The term employed instead is “conservatorship”.

Why did the State of Texas decide on this term unlike other States? Well first of all this term shifts away the focus on children as commodities to be owned. It is a known fact that custody battles are usually a bloody affair where two adults compete for supremacy by getting the child.

Conservatorship does not promote such inhumane behavior instead it concentrates on the responsibilities, rights, benefits and burdens that come as a result of a parent – child relationship.

Parents are reminded of their main role as being protectors and conservers and that the child is not a property to possessed or allocated.

It is true that people are more at home with the term custody but truth is that legally there is no such thing as sole custody, joint custody or full custody in the State of Texas when it comes to children.

Types of Conservatorship: Managing and Possessory

There are two types of conservatorships in Texas namely; managing and possessory.


Managing conservatorship

Such conservators enjoy all the rights and responsibilities that come with parenting. This means that they have access to the child; they can inherit or even acquire assets through the child. The parent here has the right to manage everything concerning the child till they reach the legal adult age.


What exactly does the parent manage?

  • Medical care
  • Education
  • Financial welfare
  • Religion
  • Legal rights
  • Marriage consent
  • Involvement in activities at home, school work or leisure
  • Employment as a teenager


Possessory conservatorship

Possessory conservatorship is where the parent has limited access to the child. This of course is normally conducted within a well structured schedule. The parent here also has the right to inherit and bequeath property through the child.

The type of conservatorship is decided on by a court of law. If the child is in danger or being with the parent is not in the best interests of the minor such as in cases of abuse or neglect, the court may decide on restricted access which of course would be conducted under very watchful and secure eyes. At times the court may decide to eliminate the rights of a parent to a child.

All conservators regardless of the type have an obligation to ensure the child is provided  and cared for. They are also in charge of control and discipline.

Types of Managing Conservatorship: Sole and Joint

Managing conservatorship is further broken down into two types namely, sole managing conservatorship and joint managing conservatorship.

Sole managing conservatorship

As the name might suggest, this is the kind of conservatorship where one person does all the managing in regards to the child.


Joint managing conservatorship

With joint managing conservatorships, two or more persons share the rights and responsibilities of parenting.

According to the law in the state of Texas, both parents are presumed to be joint managing conservators but this is of course on certain limited grounds.

The importance of using mediation to work through issues regarding conservatorship, school districts, medical insurance, etc. for the best interest of the child

A custody battle as most people like referring to it , is usually accompanied by a win or lose mentality. It is therefore important to have mediation so that both parties walk away with a fair deal. The most important thing would be to pursue the best interest of the child.

Both parties should be able to work out everything to ensure the child access all that they need in a safe, secure and loving environment and that both parents can maintain a good relationship with the child. An agreed parenting plan is always the best .



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