Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

The basics on child custody in Texas

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2021 | Divorce

Children deserve the best from both parents, even if their parents are divorced. Parents who are going through a divorce in Texas should do everything possible to keep the child’s best interests in mind despite any ill will they have toward one another. Texas law promotes cooperation between parents and presumes parents will share “joint managing conservatorship.”

What is joint managing conservatorship?

What is referred to as legal custody in most other states in the U.S. is referred to as joint managing conservatorship in Texas. Joint managing conservatorship is presumed to be in the best interests of the child. If both parents are assigned to be joint conservators of the child, the court will specify what rights and duties should be exercised by each parent on their own, by the joint agreement of both parents and solely by one parent. Texas law also outlines the rights a parent appointed as conservator has at all times.

What about physical custody?

What is referred to as physical custody in most other states is referred to as “possession periods” in Texas. Just because parents share joint managing conservatorship does not mean they will each have equal physical possession periods with the child. Texas law does recognize that absent instances of abuse or neglect, it is important for children to have frequent contact with both parents and that possession should promote a child’s ability to have a close and continuing relationship with each parent. Texas law has a standard possession order it will apply to children ages three and up, unless circumstances exist that makes the standard possession order is not feasible, is inappropriate or other reasons exist based on statutory guidelines to deviate from the standard possession order.

Keeping the child’s best interests in mind

Ultimately, when parents are named as joint conservators and when the court determines how closely the standard possession order should be followed, the primary focus should always be the best interests of the child. If parents can keep the child’s best interests in mind and at heart it can go a long way into ensuring the child will thrive post-divorce.