What are Common Custody Arrangements

When it comes to children, Texas Courts need to enter a Parenting Plan that details, custody, visitation, child support and contains all the details for rights and duties with regard to the children. Conservatorship is often thought of as the person or persons who have custody of children. There is a rebuttable presumption that parents should serve as the Joint Managing Conservators of their children and that it should be a parent vs. a nonparent that is a managing conservator.

The presumption for joint managing conservatorship is rebutted if there is a finding of family violence. The presumption in favor of a parent vs. a nonparent is rebutted if it “would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.” The court will always consider what is in “the best interest” of the child in making decisions related to a child and if joint conservatorship or a parent managing conservatorship is not in the child’s best interest then the court has a variety of other options.

Below is a list of common custody arrangements:

Joint Managing Conservatorship does not mean that each parent has the children half the time, or that child support will not be awarded. It also does not mean that both parents jointly make all the decisions for the children. The time with the children can be allocated any number of ways. Further, the parental rights and duties can be allocated between the parents in any manner the court feels appropriate. Child support may be awarded to one of the parents. The custody arrangement may even “look” like sole custody with visitation to the other parent.

If Joint Managing Conservatorship (often referred to as Joint Custody) is ordered the Court will make a finding of who has the right to determine the primary residence of the child and what the geographical area must be for that residence . Further, the Court must find that there has been no family violence in order to award Joint Managing Conservatorship.

Sole Managing Conservatorship (often referred to as Sole Custody) is ordered when the Court determines that it is in the best interest of the child to have only one parent as managing conservator. That parent alone has the conservatorship rights.

Rights of a Conservator — unless limited by a court the following rights belong to a parent appointed as a conservator of a child:

  1. To receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
  2. To confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
  3. Of access to medical, dental, psychological, and education records of the child;
  4. To consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child;
  5. To consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and education status, including school activities;
  6. To attend school activities;
  7. To be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;
  8. To consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
  9. To manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent’s family.

To determine what custody arrangement a court is likely to order in your situation you should contact an experienced family law attorney for a case specific evaluation of your situation. Our office does consultations to help you determine the Parenting Plan that is best for you.