3 Types of Child Custody: Which Should You Seek?

If you’re a parent in the midst of divorce, you might not have all the facts on the types of child custody under Texas law. You’ll need this information to ensure the choices you make regarding the care of your children are informed ones. While issues surrounding conservatorship or support payments can be modified at a later time, it’s usually better to seek the custody arrangement you want as early as possible. There are three main types of custody, or “conservatorship,” recognized under Texas law. Choosing the right type for your situation can be of paramount importance to the well-being of your children, your relationship with them, and even your relationship with your former spouse.

Joint managing conservatorship is probably the most common of the types of child custody and the one courts prefer to see whenever possible. With JMC, both parents may make decisions regarding the children’s discipline, medical, or mental health care; educational and religious instruction; extracurricular activities; and other matters. So even if your kids don’t live with you any longer, you can still contribute to choices that impact their lives. Sole managing conservatorship can be granted when one parent demonstrates lack of parental fitness. This can be due to addiction, neglect, abuse, incarceration, or other serious issues that preclude effective parenting. Generally speaking, you should only seek SMC if the child’s other parent is unfit. Joint or sole managing conservatorships are the most common types of child custody.

The least common is “possessory conservatorship.” This means that a parent will be able to see the child on a regular basis but will not be responsible for making decisions about their upbringing. Texas courts do not use the word “visitation,” but that would be the layman’s term. If you’re not sure which of the types of child custody are best for you and your child, or you do know and want to begin pursuing your parental rights, consulting with a family law attorney is a great way to begin.

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