When parents get divorced, their top concerns usually center around custody of the children. In Texas, custody this issue is handled a bit differently than custody in other states.
The more you understand about how things work, the easier it will be for you to navigate the waters ahead. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know.
Conservatorship is different from possession and access
Texas divides custody issues of a couple’s minor children into “conservatorship” and “possession and access.”
Conservatorship is, at its core, your right to make decisions for your child and take action on their behalf. Parents can be awarded either joint managing conservatorship (which gives them equal rights) or sole managing conservatorship (which puts the power largely in the hands of one parent alone).
Conservatorship of your children gives you the right to:
- Access your child’s school and medical records
- Make decisions about your child’s educational needs
- Make decisions about your child’s health care and consent to treatment
- Participate in educational decisions with the school (like IEP meetings)
- Make other decisions that are in your child’s best interests
Possession and access, by comparison, refers only to the physical custody each parent has with their child — and that can be divided according to an arbitrary, standard schedule when the parents don’t agree or customized to your child’s needs when the parents are able to work together.
What else do you need to know about child custody in Texas?
While this may all sound complicated and confusing, you need to remember that it’s usually in a child’s best interests for both parents to remain present and involved in their lives. Absent any extreme circumstances that would cause the court to reconsider, it’s likely that you and your spouse will share both conservatorship and possession and access fairly equally.
Whatever your specific concerns, it’s always wise to speak with an attorney as soon as you know that divorce is on your horizon.