Sole Child Custody in Texas
There is no such thing as sole child custody in Texas. In states where sole child custody exists, the person who gets sole custody rights has the right to establish the primary residence of the child. They also have the right to receive child support. But in Texas, custody is called conservatorship and there are two types of conservators.
- The managing conservators
- Possessory conservator
The two types of managing conservators are sole and joint conservator.
Sole Managing Conservator
If you are given the legal rights to make decisions for the child in a child support case in Texas, you are the sole managing conservator. A judge may name you the Sole Managing conservator for the following reasons:
- The other parent is absent in the child’s life
- The other parent abuses or neglects the child
- The other parent is violent
- The other parent abuses drugs or alcohol
Exclusive Rights of the Sole Managing Conservator
When one parent is appointed the sole managing conservator, the other parent is appointed possessory conservator. Under Texas Law, you as the sole managing conservator have the following rights and duties exclusively:
- You have the right to make decisions about the child’s education
- You have the right to decide what will be the primary residence of the child
- Your consent will be sought before the gets medical, dental and any other medical treatments including surgery
- You can act as the agent of your child’s estate if any action is required by the federal, state or foreign government
- You have the right to the services and earnings of the child
- You have the right to consent to enlistment in the armed forces and marriage
- You have the right to make any legal decisions for the child and represent the child in legal action
- You have the right to receive child support payments and hold or disburse these funds for the child’s benefit
The Possessory Conservator
A possessory conservator has limited authority to make decisions on behalf of the child. This simply means that the possessory conservator has the right to parent but will not have the final say on most decisions. For example, the possessory conservator still gets visitation rights. In cases where a non-parent is named the sole managing conservator, both parents are named possessory conservators.
Joint Managing Conservator
Here is where both parents share the right to make decisions that will benefit the child. However, in a joint conservatorship, one parent has the exclusive rights to decide where the child will live. The parent that decides where the child lives within a certain geographic area is called the custodial parent. The other parent is called the non-custodial parent. There are some cases where both parents do not have the rights to decide where the child lives, but the child’s residence can be restricted to a certain geographic area.
To determine what type of conservator either parent becomes, the court uses the “best interests of the child” standard. But regardless of the decision the court comes up with, each parent still has the right to be involved in some way in the life of their child.