Parents facing divorce in Texas must arrive at a fair custody agreement. Sometimes parents can come to such an agreement on their own. If they ask a judge to determine custody, he or she will make a parenting plan that serves the child’s best interests.
Review the factors that contribute to decisions about child custody, referred to as conservatorship in Texas, and visitation, also known as possession.
The state uses the term “managing conservatorship” to describe the right of the parents to make decisions for their children. Joint conservatorship means the parents must agree on aspects of upbringing such as education, health care, culture, or religion.
Usually, the court allows the parent who has more physical time with the child to decide where he or she will live within a certain county or area. Texas typically does not appoint one parent as sole managing conservator unless the other has a history of neglect, violence, abuse, or abandonment of the child.
When the parents cannot reach a custody agreement outside of court, the judge may default to the state’s standard possession order. With this arrangement, one parent has primary possession and the other has visitation with the child on alternate weekends and holidays, one evening each week, and during vacations from school.
Parents who do not have physical possession can still get information about the child’s education, health, and well-being. They can also participate in parental decisions. Only a court order can completely sever the parental relationship, and then only in cases involving abuse and neglect. In some cases, the judge may order supervised visitation with one parent.