Child Custody Vs. Conservatorship

Child Custody Vs. Conservatorship

Issues in child custody often arise in any legal proceedings that involve children. In most jurisdictions, determining which parent the child should reside with is according to the child’s best interests.

In the United States, child custody is just one of the legal terms used when referring to such proceedings. Conservatorship and guardianship can be used as a substitute.

In the Texas Family Code, conservatorship is used instead of custody. It comes in two specific types—Joint Managing Conservatorship and Sole Managing Conservatorship.

Each type is further broken down into Managing Conservator, a term often synonymous with the custodial parent, and the Possessory Conservator or non-custodial parent.

What’s the Difference between Managing and Possessory Conservator?

Managing Conservators

From the word managing, it is obvious that the parent who is designated as the managing conservator is awarded child custody. They have the same rights and responsibilities as a parent would normally have and will be responsible for looking after the child’s welfare and for providing the child’s needs.

Managing conservatorship is either sole or joint.

A managing conservator will take care of a minor child’s common affairs such as education, medical and dental, religion, behavior, social welfare and moral principles, legal rights and representation, and psychological and psychiatric care.

When a child reaches teenage years, a managing conservator is also responsible for their employment. This extends to consent to marriage, consent to armed forces enlistment, and consent to a child’s involvement in clubs, sports, and other extracurricular activities.

Possessory Conservators

As a possessory conservator, the parent will have access to or possession of a child under a specifically defined schedule. Access may be severely limited, and often with supervision if the court believes that a child could be in danger.

The responsibility of a possessory conservator is limited to inheriting and bequeathing assets through the child.

Regardless if a parent is awarded managing or possessory conservatorship, they are obligated to support the basic needs of a child such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.

When is Managing Conservatorship Sole or Joint?

In most cases, joint managing conservators are appointed by the Texas Family Law. The only exception is when a child or children are at risk of violence or harm.

The goal is to create an environment for both the parent and child to have a healthy parent-child relationship. This is achieved by taking into account other elements that will contribute to such an environment and tackling certain issues that could arise.

  • Geographic restrictions
  • 50/50 schedule or other schedule, such as the Standard Possession Order
  • Amount of child support to be paid
  • Exclusive right to designate the primary residence
  • Medical expense payment
  • Child/children’s Health insurance coverage
  • Application for children’s passports and their possession

Child custody battles can sometimes leave a mark on the child/children. But you can make it less traumatizing by ensuring the optimal and healthiest situation for your child and not placing your child in the middle between you and the other parent.

You should also remember that your child’s health and happiness will depend on the level of respect you afford to your former spouse/partner. Contact the Law Offices of Jon R. Boyd for more information today!


The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd practice Family and Probate Law and has two offices located in Granbury and Plano, Texas. We‘re happy to offer our services here and to the surrounding areas:Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Lewisville, Denton, The Colony, Little Elm, Carrollton, Richardson, Addison, Dallas or Fort Worth

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