Texas Custody

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Texas Custody

Two words that you will come across as you go through the custody process are "conservator" and "possession". In Texas, "conservator" is a term used to describe the custodian or residential parent of the child and described the role of each parent. "Possession" is another word for custody and refers to the visitation schedule and who has possession during what times.

There is typically a managing conservator which has standard visitation during the week and a possessory conservator which typically has one night during the week, and first, third and fifth weekends. This is a very simplified explanation just to help you understand the roles.

There is a term that is misused in the custody process and that term is "primary" conservator. The term primary usually refers to the rights and duties of each conservator, and typically the managing conservator has the right to determine the "primary" residence of the child or children. Many times couples engaged in a divorce use the term "primary parent" which causes confusion and excessive legal fees when there is no such thing. In a perfect co-parenting situation involving the children, no parent should be labeled as more important than the other.

To avoid this inaccurate characterization if either parent is attempting to assert a role as "primary parent" it is easier for the parties simply to define the location that the children will live in, such as the county where the parties reside plus contiguous counties, or the school district or city, so that the parties can define where they feel it is in the best interest of the children to live, and yet be as close to possible to both parents.

What rights do children have in Texas custody cases?

It is the public policy ($ 153.001) of the State of Texas to ensure that children have certain rights afforded to them. The policy of the State of Texas is to assure that children have a safe, stable, non-violent home environment and that they have frequent, meaningful, on-going contact with each of the child's parents, provided the parents have shown the ability to act in the child's best interests and are of no danger to the child. The State of Texas encourages parents to share parental duties and the rights and responsibilities of their child after they have separated or divorced. The State of Texas will not allow access to a child to be based on the payment of child support. The child is as entitled to the visitation as the parent is.
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