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Different Types of Custody in Texas

In Texas, the term “conservatorship” is used in place of custody. Conservatorship describes the rights and responsibilities that parents have in regard to raising their children; in many other states, conservatorship is called legal custody.

Conservatorship does not have to do with the amount of time that each parent will have with the child, instead it addresses the legal rights and duties of the parents. Such rights and responsibilities include the right to make decisions about the child’s education, medical treatment, and religious upbringing.

Texas has two types of conservatorship: (1) sole managing conservatorship, and (2) joint managing conservatorship. The presumption is that in the absence of family violence, it is in a child’s best interests to order joint managing conservatorship. The court, however, will examine the facts of the case when deciding if joint managing conservatorship is appropriate for the family.

All factors surrounding the child’s life will be considered, including:

  • A history of child abuse
  • A history of spousal abuse
  • Criminal activity
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

If the court finds credible evidence of a pattern of domestic violence, the court is not allowed to appoint the parent who committed such violence as a joint managing conservator, and the court cannot order that parent as a sole managing conservator.

When is sole managing conservatorship ordered?

In rare circumstances (e.g. cases involving a history of family violence or substance abuse, or where the other parent has been absent from the child’s life), one parent may be appointed as the sole managing conservator (SMC).

In this scenario, that parent has superior rights in raising the child, meaning the SMC would have the sole right to decide where the child will live, to consent to medical treatment, and the right to make decisions about the child’s education. The SMC also maintains the right to child support.

The Primary Joint Managing Conservator

When parents are appointed as joint managing conservators (JMCs), the parents usually share in parental duties, however, the court will designate one parent who will be responsible for establishing the location of the child’s primary residence. This parent is called the primary joint managing conservator, otherwise known as the “custodial parent.” The other parent is the “possessory conservator,” or the noncustodial parent.

Possession and Access (Visitation)

In Texas, visitation is called possession and access. The parent who gets visitation is the parent that the child does not live with most of the time. There are several types of visitation in Texas:

  • Standard possession order
  • Modified possession order
  • Modified under three possession order
  • Supervised possession order

The courts, however, usually allow the parties to work out an arrangement between themselves that they believe is best for their child.

This summarizes the different types of custody in Texas. If you are interested in learning more about your parental rights and responsibilities, or if you would like to learn more about the different types of visitation, I encourage you to contact my firm, Dennis M. Slate, Attorney at Law. I would be glad to answer your questions and give you the legal advice you need to effectively address your situation in Pearland, TX.

Categories: Divorce
  • Board-Certified Family Lawyer

    As a specialist, Dennis M. Slate is ready to advocate on your behalf!

    Learn More
  • Peaceful Divorce Resoultions

    Find out if you would benefit from an uncontested divorce.

    Get the Facts
  • Secure the Division of Your Property

    We have experience with complex property divisions.

    Secure Your Assets
  • Need Help? Reach Out to Our Firm Now.

    We are here to help. Tell us about your case today!

    Contact Us

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Dennis M. Slate, Attorney at Law
Pearland Divorce Attorney
Located at: 1920 Country Place Parkway,
Suite 354,

Pearland, TX 77584
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Phone: (281) 410-5780
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.