What Are Texas Child Custody Laws?

What Are Texas Child Custody Laws?

Texas law deems child custody as a conservatorship, which means a parent is referred to as a conservator instead of a custodian, according to FindLaw. Texas law stipulates that a judge must determine the terms of a conservatorship unless both parents agree on a custody plan in writing.

As of 2015, the two types of conservatorships in Texas include joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship, according to FindLaw. When a judge grants a joint managing conservatorship in Texas, both parties share the duties and rights of a parent, although exclusive rights to make certain decisions may be granted to only one parent. During a Texas child custody hearing, a judge typically stipulates and specifies the separate and joint responsibilities of each parent.

Joint managing conservatorships do not guarantee equal custody or visitation, according to FindLaw. Texas courts determine a visitation schedule separate from the conservatorship designation, which is known as a standard possession order.

A sole managing conservatorship grants only one parent the legal right to make certain decisions that concern the child or children, according to FindLaw. The sole conservator typically determines the primary residence of the child, consent to dental or medical treatment, educational choices, and emergency contacts for the child's records.