When the parents of a minor child make the decision to end their marriage, that decision impacts the child as well as the parents. During the ensuing divorce proceedings, the parents will also need to make several additional decisions that have a direct affect on the child, such as who will have conservatorship (custody) of the child and what type of possession and access (visitation) schedule the parents will use to ensure that both parents continue to be a part of the child’s life. Decisions relating to conservatorship and possession and access will be included in the final decree, making them orders of the court. Sometimes, however, circumstances change down the road that prompt a parent to want to modify the possession and access schedule. If you find yourself in this situation, consult with a Texas divorce attorney to determine what legal options you have.
Conservatorship in Texas
In the State of Texas, “custody” of a minor child is referred to as “conservatorship.” Conservatorship is essentially the equivalent of legal custody of a child. A parent could be awarded managing conservatorship, joint conservatorship, or no conservatorship over the minor child in a divorce. In the State of Texas, there is a presumption that parents will be awarded joint conservatorship, meaning that both parents have a voice in important matters affecting the child such as where the child attends school, what religion the child will follow, and what medical treatment the child will receive. As a general rule, this means a court will grant joint conservatorship absent a showing of why a parent should not be granted a joint conservator. For example, if a parent has a history of child abuse or domestic violence, a court might take away the parent’s joint conservatorship status and grant the other parent sole managing conservatorship.