What Types of Child Custody Are Available in Texas?

Laws regarding the types of child custody available in Texas differ from those of other states. For starters, “custody” is divided into two types: “Conservatorship” and “Possession and Access.” Conservatorship refers to who will make decisions that impact both the everyday life of the child and also their long-term care and growth. These include where the child will live and with whom. It also includes decisions relating to schooling, religious instruction, medical care, dental or mental healthcare, extracurricular activities, and more. Sole managing conservatorship means that one parent is primarily responsible for these decisions. The sole managing conservator may choose to get input from the non-custodial spouse, but this is not required.

Possession and Access refers to visitation and also to regular communication with your child via phone/video messaging or other means of communication. The different types of child custody are decided with the best interests of the child in mind. It’s always better if the parents can agree. Ideally, these decisions should exist in writing and be made available to the court in what’s called a “parenting plan.” That’s for your own protection and can be particularly valuable if your ex changes their mind down the road. Keep in mind too that Conservatorship and Possession and Access are not tied to payment of child support. Non-payment cannot equal a suspension of access.

Understanding the types of child custody that are available is an important first step. Your attorney can help you navigate the court system, and will do their best to ensure that the courts reach a conclusion that works for you and —more importantly — is in the best interests of your child. Your case may require mediation to reach an agreement regarding conservatorship, or you may even need to appear in court to explain your side to a judge. Your decision regarding what types of child custody are best for you will impact your relationship with your child for years to come. That’s one of the reasons an experienced family law attorney should be your first call.

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