If you and your spouse are considering filing for divorce and have children, one of your biggest fears may be losing custody of your child. Custody battles frequently splinter parents, each of whom may feel like they are simply looking out for the best interests of their child.
Learn About Joint Managing Conservatorship
To address complex child custody issues, Texas adopted legislation that required Joint Managing Conservatorship. Custody laws change if there is evidence of child abuse, child neglect, and family violence. Any of these factors could play a role in the deterioration of the emotional and or physical well-being of the children. The goal of Texas child custody laws is to allow each parent to be involved in their children’s lives as long as that involvement is in the children’s best interests.
Under these laws, both parents have responsibilities morally, educationally, physically and religiously. The Joint Managing Conservatorship does not outline all residence or custody issues but allows for each parent to be involved in the growth and development of their child. The current assumption in most families is that child rearing responsibilities have been shared prior to the divorce, and therefore, under Texas law, the State court is not allowed to discriminate based on the sex of the parent. TFC §153.003
Joint Managing Conservatorship DOES NOT mean each parent will have equal physical access to the child, it simply means certain rights and duties are shared by both parents.
TFC §153.074 RIGHTS AND DUTIES DURING PERIODS OF POSSESSION
- The duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
- The duty to support the child including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter and medical and dental care during an emergency;
- The right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.
TFC §153.073 RIGHTS OF PARENT AT ALL TIMES
- The right to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
- The right to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
- The right to access medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child;
- The right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child;
- The right to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities;
- The right to attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips;
- The right to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;
- The right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
- The right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent’s family.
These guidelines can be difficult to understand, and it is important to discuss this type of child custody arrangement with a Texas family law attorney like Leigh Ann Schenk. Leigh Ann can help you protect your rights and help you outline the type of custody responsibilities you will have concerning your child.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
If you are awarded Sole Managing Conservatorship, you will be the legal party responsible for the majority of decisions for your child. As a Sole Managing Conservator, you may not be required to consult with the other parent prior to making a decision concerning the health, education and welfare of the child.
In Texas, Joint Managing Conservatorship will be granted unless there is evidence of abuse up to 2 years prior to the filing of the divorce proceeding. The court may not appoint joint managing conservators if credible evidence is presented of a history or pattern of the past or present child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or any person younger than 18 years of age. In deciding child custody and conservatorship, Texas courts may also consider other abusive, illegal or neglectful actions of a parent which may not be in the best interest of the child.
State Custody Considerations:
If you do not live in the state of Texas it is important to understand that the laws of your state may vary from Texas child custody laws. The original case should be filed in the state where the child has resided for the last 6 months. Interestingly, states have modified child custody arrangements to establish more equality between mothers and fathers and state courts have started considering the needs of the father and the value they provide to a child’s well-being. State courts no longer assume the mother is the best custodian for the children. Whether you are the mother or the father of the child, Leigh Ann Schenk will fight to protect your rights in the custody process.