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Child Custody

Child Custody

Under Texas law, child custody is referred to as a “conservatorship.” Depending on the situation at hand, parents can be named either as joint managing conservators or a sole managing conservator. Ideally, both parents would be named joint managing conservators, but there are cases where the court may name one parent as a sole managing conservator and the other as a possessory conservator as it is in the best interests of the child.

The sole managing conservator and the possessory conservator both enjoy parental rights to an extent, but the sole managing conservator has control over the care of the child. For example, a sole managing conservator can decide the child’s primary resident or receive child support. In most cases, a child custody hearing stems from a dissolution of marriage. However, these types of proceedings can also occur due to Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), family violence cases, paternity, and protective order cases.

Houston Child Custody Lawyer, TX | Harris County & Montgomery County

It’s no surprise that most high-stress and high-stake cases in family law involve child custody. If you’re thinking of petitioning for sole custody or you’re looking to fight for partial custody, call Horak Law today. Our team understands the hardships of going to court for your child and will do everything in our power to achieve a satisfactory outcome in your case.

Call Horak Law today to set up your first consultation at (713) 225-8000 or simply submit an online contact form. Horak Law has two locations in both the city of Houston and The Woodlands, Texas. However, we also accept clients in other neighboring counties including Brazoria County, Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Galveston County, and Waller County, Texas.

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What Are the Two Different Types of Child Custody in Texas?

The Texas statutes establish two types of child custody also referred to as a conservatorship agreement. This is known as a sole managing conservator and joint managing conservators. In both scenarios, conservators have either partial or total parental rights over the child.

Conservatorship, under Texas law, gives a custodian the right to do the following:

  • Become the child’s emergency contact
  • Speak to the other conservator or parent in regard to the child’s health, education and/or welfare
  • Be able to talk to school officials about the child’s academics and their activities
  • Consent to any medical, dental, and/or surgical treatment
  • Contact and speak to the child’s dentist, psychologist, or physician
  • Attend the child’s school events
  • Receive information about the child’s health, education and welfare

Sole managing conservators have total parental rights over the child or children, and it’s important to understand this type of conservatorship can also apply to non-parents. Listed below are some additional rights sole managing conservators have that possessory conservators do not.

  • Receive child support payments
  • Make academics related decisions for the child
  • Consent to psychological and psychiatrist treatments
  • Decide the child’s primary residence/home
  • Influence the child’s religious practices
  • Consent to marriage for the child
  • Possess the child’s passport or apply for a new passport

A joint managing conservatorship establishes joint custody between both parents or custodians. Although both parents/custodians will share the same rights, the court can adjust certain rights to one parent over the other in the best interest of the child.

Parents can also draft and file a parenting plan as required by Texas law to avoid court interference. The legal document, either temporary or permanent, will decide the rights and duties of each parent. It will also include a standard possession order (SPO) that determines visitation rights, access to the child, and where the child will live for the majority of the time. Parents who have established a parenting plan together can avoid the conservatorship process as the court will simply honor the parenting plan.

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Factors When Considering Child Custody

When determining the best interests of the child, the State of Texas will determine if a decision based on several factors. These factors are identified under the Texas Family Code, which are listed below:

  • If an adequate support system is around consisting of extended family and friends
  • Parent’s understanding of the child’s capabilities and needs
  • If the parent has a safe physical home environment
  • Protection from any repeated exposure to violence (even if violence is not targeted towards the child)
  • Supervision and guidance consistent with the child’s safety
  • Adequate health and nutritional care for the child
  • Supervision of the child to ensure they are safe
  • Nurturance, care, and appropriate discipline consistent with the child’s physical and psychological development
  • Does the parent demonstrate adequate parenting skills?
  • Willingness and ability of the child of the child’s family to effect positive environment and personal changes within a reasonable time period
  • Willingness and ability of the child’s family to seek out, accept, and complete counseling services as well as cooperate with and facilitate an appropriate agency’s close supervision
  • Any history of substance abuse by the child’s family or others who have access to the child’s home
  • Any history of abuse by the parent or their family or anyone who has access to the child’s home
  • Results of psychiatrics, psychological and/or developmental evaluations of the child and their parents, other family members, or others who have access to the child’s home
  • If the child was a victim of repeated harm
  • Child’s age, physical and mental vulnerabilities
  • Frequency and nature of out-of-home placements

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Additional Resources

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act — View the full text of Chapter 152, Subtitle B, Title 5 of the Texas Family Code. General provisions include the effect of child custody determination, notice to persons outside the state, and communication between courts. Additional subchapters cover jurisdiction and enforcement.

The Best Interests of the Child – An article published by the Child Welfare Information Gateway titled “Determining the Best Interests of the Child” is designed to help parents in the event of a child custody battle. The article reviews what the principles are for determining the best interest of a child. Texas is among the states that puts the child’s welfare first and foremost when it comes to deciding conservatorship.

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Child Conservatorship Lawyer, Houston TX | Horak Law

If you’re in need of legal guidance with a child custody matter, call Horak Law. Horak Law has spent years practicing family law including cases dealing with divorce, child custody, and child support. Matthew Horak and his team can evaluate your situation and provide guidance on what to do next so you can achieve a favorable outcome for your case.

Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation or simply submit an online contact form.

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