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3 Types of Custody

Are you fighting for custody of your children in Texas? Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to arrive at an agreement with the child’s other parent that satisfies all parties. However, you may wish to pursue sole custody if you believe this arrangement is best for your child.

Custody takes several forms in Texas. In addition, some parents find this topic confusing, as Texas uses terms to describe and define custody arrangements that differ from the common terms in other states. Familiarizing yourself with potential custody arrangements in Texas can help you better understand your legal options.

What Are the 3 Types of Custody in Texas?

Texas law refers to custody of a child as “conservatorship.” The three most common types of conservatorship arrangements in Texas are:

  • Joint managing conservatorships – A joint managing conservatorship is one in which parents essentially share custody of a child. That doesn’t necessarily mean a child spends equal time with both parents. It means both parents have the right to make decisions about such matters as a child’s moral and religious upbringing, medical care, etc. It also means both parents share duties regarding providing for and protecting a child. The law also states that both parents have the right to information regarding their children. For example, if one parent sends a child to see a therapist or other such specialist, they should share this information with the other parent.
  • Sole managing conservatorships – A sole managing conservatorship is the Texas version of sole legal custody. This arrangement allows one parent to primarily raise a child.
  • Possessory Conservatorships – A possessory conservator in Texas is essentially a parent with visitation rights. They can spend time with a child but don’t have the same rights as a custodial parent.

Court orders can more specifically define the rights of parents on a case-by-case basis. For example, even with a joint managing conservatorship arrangement, the court may grant one parent the right to decide where a child will live most of the time. The court’s goal is to ensure a final custody arrangement is in a child’s best interests.

How to File for Sole Custody

Texas law states it’s generally in a child’s best interests for both parents to be managing conservators. You need to provide “further evidence” to show why it would be in the best interests of a child for you to be their sole managing conservator.

Reasons to pursue sole custody of a child include:

  • The other parent has a history of family violence, even if the child has yet to be a direct victim.
  • The other parent has abused the child.
  • The other parent abuses drugs, alcohol, or both.
  • The other parent associates with people or engages in a lifestyle that could pose a threat to a minor.
  • The other parent has a limited relationship with the child.
  • The other parent has demonstrated a likelihood of refusing to strictly comply with the terms of a custody order or arrangement.

Evidence in such a case can take many forms. It may include testimony from neighbors, friends, family, and other such sources. Additional forms of evidence include social media posts, pictures, videos, and even a child’s own testimony, depending on their age and maturity.

What is Primary Physical Custody

In other states, a parent who has “primary physical custody” of a child is the parent with whom the child lives most of the time. The child’s parents could (but don’t always) share legal custody. Sharing legal custody is essentially the same as sharing joint conservatorship duties and rights in Texas.

What Rights Does a Parent Without Legal Custody Have in Texas?

3 Types of Custody

There is no single answer to this question. Per the law, a possessory conservator in Texas may automatically retain many of the rights of a managing conservator. The specific details of a court order will define the exact rights and duties of a possessory conservator.

Not having certain rights doesn’t always mean avoiding certain duties. For example, a parent who is a possessory conservator may have limited rights to make decisions about a child’s upbringing, medical care, and other such matters. Still, the court can order that parent to pay child support.

Contact a Texas Child Custody Attorney

Hiring a qualified lawyer is essential when addressing child custody issues in Texas. A Texas child custody attorney may help you negotiate a child custody arrangement with the other parent or suggest options like mediation when negotiations stall. We at Adams Law Firm are committed to protecting the rights of you and your child. To learn more about what we can do for you, contact us online or call us at (281) 391-9237 to set up your case review.

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