HOUSTON, TX, August 29, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- During divorce proceedings, the most challenging issues often involve determining who will care for the children and who will make decisions about their upbringing. In many states, these issues are called child custody and visitation or parenting time. In Texas, the concepts are similar, but the legal terms are different.
In Texas, conservatorship refers to the rights and duties that a parent has concerning a child. This is similar to child custody. The time a parent spends with a child is called possession, which may be called visitation or parenting time elsewhere. Regardless of the terms, the allocation of rights, responsibilities and time spent with children is a high priority for both parents and the court.
Types Of Conservatorship
There are three basic types of conservatorship -- joint managing conservatorship, sole managing conservatorship and possessory conservatorship.
Managing conservatorship is a type of custody
that means a person has the rights and responsibilities that are normally associated with a parent. Managing conservators can make decisions about their children's medical and psychological care and have access to medical records, for example. They can make decisions about their children's education and discuss how their children are doing with school officials.
A managing conservator may hold sole conservatorship or joint conservatorship. Under Texas law, there is a presumption that parents will share joint conservatorship. This means that parents must make decisions about their children's care and education together. Even when parents hold joint conservatorship, decision-making responsibilities may not be divided equally. One parent may retain exclusive power to make decisions about certain issues.
In some cases, such as a situation involving abuse or neglect, a sole conservator will be appointed. A parent with sole conservatorship has the responsibility and right to make decisions on his or her own, including the right to decide the child's living arrangements. In most cases, however, parents must work together as joint managing conservators.
A parent who is not a joint or sole conservator may hold a possessory conservatorship. A possessory conservator has visitation with a child, but has more limited authority to make decisions than a joint or sole conservator.
Determining Rights, Responsibilities and Possession
Although these types of conservatorship provide broad definitions of the authority that parents have with their children, the specific rights, privileges and duties that a parent has are actually spelled out elsewhere in the divorce
decree. Many of these terms are heavily negotiated by the parents, and parents who are joint managing conservators may not have equal rights to make decisions about every aspect of a child's care.
One point that parents must determine is the amount of time they will spend with their children, called possession. Access is a more limited right to a child than possession.
Having the right to access and possession means that a parent has the right to take the children for a specific period of time, similar to parenting time or visitation. There is no presumption that a parent with sole or joint managing conservatorship will have a certain right to possession or visitation. Parents who are joint managing conservators may not have equal amounts of parenting time. Instead, possession and visitation are determined according to the best interests of the child.
Contact An Attorney
Because these issues are so important for parents and children, parents who are contemplating divorce should consider working with an experienced family law attorney. A divorce attorney can explain Texas custody law and help a parent work toward a parenting plan that will work for all parties involved, especially the children.
Our law firm provides experienced representation for family law matters in Sugarland and other cities in the Houston area. To learn more about how we can help you, visit http://www.khcfortbendfamilylaw.com