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How Texas Determines Custodial Responsibilities

 Posted on February 12, 2024 in Family Law

Blog ImageThe primary concern factored into the custodial responsibilities of Texas parents is the best interests of the child. A child’s development and well-being trump all other concerns. However, many factors go into making this determination.

Divorce can be a tumultuous time for families, especially children, so understanding how Texas laws determine a parent’s responsibilities when it comes to custody over their children is incredibly important. An experienced attorney can help parents navigate the complexities of the entire process.

What Are Custodial Responsibilities?

Custodial rights are reserved for the primary conservator of a child. The custodial parent often has the majority of the decision-making responsibilities regarding a child’s upbringing, such as healthcare, education, and other important decisions in a child’s life.

There are two types of conservatorship recognized in Texas:

  • Sole managing conservatorship

  • Joint managing conservatorship

In the case of the former, one parent has exclusive rights and responsibilities for a child and their upbringing. The other parent, labeled the possessory conservator, may also have rights and duties owed to the child but in a more limited capacity.

Texas prefers joint managing conservatorship over sole managing conservatorship. Joint managing conservatorship promotes the cooperation and involvement of both parents regarding decision-making for their child. This gives rights and responsibilities to both parents. However, the rights and responsibilities are not necessarily always equal.

Possession and access are other forms of custodial responsibilities that are determined in court. These terms refer to a visitation schedule and how much time each parent has to spend with a child. The child will almost always reside with the primary conservator but the other parent will normally have possession and access rights to the child as well.

What Factors Go Into Determining Custodial Responsibilities?

Many factors go into determining who becomes the primary conservator as well as possession and access to a child. A judge will look into multiple matters within the household, the parents, and the child before coming to a decision.

Factors that a judge may look at to help make their decision include:

  • A child’s needs and the parent’s ability to meet them

  • A child’s wishes when it comes to their parents concerning conservatorship, possession, and access (the child must be at least 12 years of age or older for their wishes to be considered)

  • How well the parents are willing to cooperate and communicate concerning their child

  • The mental and physical health of the parents

  • A child’s relationship with other members of each household

  • The distance between each household

  • The safety and stability provided by each parent in their respective households

  • A history of violence or abuse

These are only a few of the factors that a judge may use in determining custodial responsibilities. Texas will often encourage parents to use mediation to work out these issues before they become the responsibility of the court. Mediation enables cooperative couples to come to mutually agreeable terms on how to raise their children moving forward after a divorce.

Contact a Galveston County, TX Family Law Attorney

Seeking the guidance of an experienced Galveston, TX child custody lawyer can assist you in making the right decision regarding your family. Whether through mediation or traditional litigation, ensuring your children are well taken care of following a divorce is crucial to their well-being. Contact the firm of Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. at 409-392-1511 for a free consultation to discuss your child custody case.

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