child custody

Custody vs. Conservatorship in Your Divorce

 Child custody arrangements are one of the most nerve-wracking court decisions you’d ever have to anticipate as a parent in a Texas Family Court. Most of the parents who approach Texas family law attorneys have this as their biggest concern regarding their divorce. Parents are also aware that the divorce can have a huge impact on their child’s life. In fact, the impact could be greater on the children. Child custody is one of the subjects parents have the most questions about.

Possession Vs. Custody

Despite this being, not a legal term, parents usually refer to their ‘possession’ issues as ‘custody’ concerns. Parents, who approach family law attorneys in Texas usually ask along the lines of ‘Can I get sole custody of my child?’ Most parents who ask this question do not trust their spouse to be a good parent to their children after the divorce. They also tend to ask more questions and seek more information about split child custody.

A lot of parents get shocked at the fact that in the legal world, ‘child custody’ doesn’t exist. Child custody arrangements are in fact conservatorship arrangements in the state of Texas. Conservatorship is governed by Texas state laws regarding relationships between parents and children. Conservatorship also covers the rights and duties that parents have over their child. How are all these related to or affected by your divorce?


The Impact of Conservatorship to You and Your Children


As a conservator, you must be able to make sound decisions for your child until he or she is no longer a minor. This includes decisions regarding where your child will primarily live until adulthood, the school where your child will be attending, decisions regarding healthcare, psychiatric and other medical procedures. These are basically the core of your parental duties in the state of Texas.

Depending on the type of conservator the court will determine you as the responsibilities that you have will vary. Typically, the court will decide the type of child custody arrangements you will have with your co-parent. Whatever type the court chooses to grant you, you will still have to make some decisions for your child, or at least


Parental Rights and Duties


The type of conservator that you are determines the breadth of responsibility and ability, in general, to make this sort of decisions for your child or at least take part in discussions with your ex-spouse about various decisions that concern your child’s residence, school, healthcare and other important aspects in your child’s life. Texas courts usually make it a point to involve both parents in sharing parental rights as equally as possible. There are also instances when the court decides to limit some rights of a parent if it determines that doing so is in the best interest of the child. In such cases, you might have rights that your co-parent does not have or vice versa.

As parents, you can agree on allocating parental rights and duties to each other for the best interests of your child. However, in most divorce cases where emotions run amok, this can prove to be quite difficult to achieve. It can even be downright impossible in some cases. When you can’t decide such crucial points with your co-parent, a judge in a Texas family court will make the decision for you.


Access, Visitation, Possession, and Other Child Custody Arrangements Issues


Visitation is one factor that is easy enough to understand even just by looking at the term. It merely refers to you and your co-parent’s ability to spend time with your child during scheduled visits. Of course, this has still something to do with possession and access to your child in your child custody arrangement.

Possession focuses more on the actual time you get to spend with your child that is predetermined by your Final Divorce Decree. You cannot just come up with a schedule whenever your mood strikes. Hence the judge will include in the divorce decree a specific visitation schedule that you will have to strictly follow with your co-parent. You don’t really have to leave it to the judge to decide. You can try to reach an agreement with your spouse. If you manage to do so, then everything related to your child custody arrangements that you agreed with can be made legal without having to fight it out in court.


Split Custody vs. Joint Managing Conservatorship

In Texas, the default setup when it comes to child custody arrangement is joint managing conservatorship. This basically means that you and your co-parent will share rights and duties in parenting equally. However, this does not directly mean that you and your spouse will have split custody of your child.

There are many issues you can potentially face when it comes to child custody arrangements after your divorce. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Texas Family Law Attorneys who would be happy to help you and address your concerns.

The following two tabs change content below.
Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *