The Rights and Duties of Texas Parents 2

When you are getting a divorce, establishing the rights and duties of Texas parents before the divorce is finalized is a must. It is also important to pay attention to the parenting plan that will be included in your final divorce decree.

The parenting plan will include many things such as a guide to the rights and duties of Texas parents until the children graduate high school or turn 18, as well your considerations regarding your child after the divorce. In other words, the parenting plan will include information about conservatorship and child support as well as access and possession information.

These factors cover the different parenting methods you’d have to adapt following the divorce. Of course, these factors are basically the same ones you need to maintain a good relationship with your child even while staying married. It’s just that in a divorce, the judge will spell out your duties and responsibilities clearly in a legal document.

Most parents are most concerned about how much time they’d be allowed to spend with the children after the divorce. Here are the things you need to know about the factors mentioned above so that you can feel at ease somehow, and so that you can prepare for possible custody issues.

Rights and Duties of Texas Parents in Conservatorship

Every parent can relate to that longing for more time with the children. We all know how critical it is for our child’s growth and well-being too. When you are going through a divorce, it is natural to worry about these things more than usual. You will realize the importance of the time you get to spend with your child when you are on the verge of losing it. Of course, unless you have done something extreme, you won’t lose the right to be with your child.

In most cases in Texas, you and your ex-spouse would still be conservators of your child after your divorce. While having conservatorship of your child, you are expected to support the child and maintain your rights as a parent. You might not be the primary conservator of your child, but you would still have the right to know everything that has to do with your child.
There are three types of rights that can be given to you. This includes independent, joint and exclusive rights. When you are given an independent right by the court, you will have the right to make decisions by yourself, with or without permission of your ex-spouse. When you are granted the joint right, you need to always consult and agree with the other parent before making decisions for the child. When you have the exclusive right, only you will have the right to make decisions regarding your child.

We are sure that you will want to know more about the rights and duties of Texas parents so we’ll talk about these in detail.

Independent Rights and Duties of Texas Parents

Most couples who part on good terms can easily agree to this kind of setup. Since making independent decisions regarding the child will actually require trust and good flow of communication between the parents, it’s difficult to achieve when you and your ex-spouse are not quite in talking terms. For instance, for ex-couples who are given this right, they would easily be able to speak to the teacher of the child regarding some changes with the child’s education without the other parent in the vicinity.

Joint Rights and Duties of Texas Parents

As previously mentioned, when you are granted this right, you would not be able to make any changes regarding the child without the approval of the other parent. For example, even if the teachers have suggested that your child should be enrolled in a tutorial class, you won’t be able to agree to it without consulting your ex-spouse. Making decisions by yourself without approval could easily land you in court and you might even lose your rights to the child.

Exclusive Rights

When you are granted exclusive rights by the court, it doesn’t mean that you alone will have to shoulder parental duties Your spouse will still have to support the child, but will no longer have rights to the child. When you have exclusive rights, only you can decide about matters concerning your child’s life and future.

The Texas Family Code wants parents to continue acting as parents to the child despite the divorce. It would be wise to avoid a custody battle – it is never ideal and always gets messy. If your lawyer is encouraging you to fight against your spouse to get exclusive rights to the child, you should reconsider hiring that lawyer. Almost always, the best setup for your child is when both parents are awarded joint managing conservator rights. If you disagree to this setting, you can complain to the judge, but it is highly likely that the judge would still tell you the same thing: joint conservatorship is best for your child.

Think about how you share parental rights and duties during the marriage. If you suddenly decide to move your kids out of the school they’re attending without your spouse’s knowledge, your spouse would probably throw a fit and would bite your head off. Even after the divorce, they would still feel the same way so consider your ex-spouse before making any decision. This is how you should continue to act when you have a joint managing conservatorship.
When things become complicated and you are tempted to kick your ex-spouse from your life completely, pause and think about the best interest of your child. It’s very easy to want exclusive rights for your child. However, is it really what’s best for your child? Unless your situation calls for it, avoid pushing for exclusive rights. You are likely to regret it.

In addition to the rights mentioned above, are the duties that you will have after the divorce. The rights and duties of Texas parents will never be complete without these factors:

1. Child Support

Child support is an important factor for your child’s health, wellness, and growth. Child support gives one parent the right to receive funds from the other parent for the child’s needs. It is very straightforward. You can learn more about how it is computed and all the other helpful information about child support in the article here: Busting Myths and Rumors About Child Support in Texas .

2. Primary Residence

After the divorce, your child cannot possibly stay in different place every day of the week. It would be like uprooting the child completely. Hence, your child will need a primary residence. If you can reach an agreement with your co-parent about visitation schedules and the geographical aspects of the primary residence, exclusive designation won’t even be necessary.

The best way to keep everyone happy is to make sure that everyone can exercise their rights as much as they want. In any case, it’s your child who will have the most the gain or lose if you engage in a parental rights battle. Keep in mind that if you will unreasonably pursue exclusive rights to your child, you will surely find yourself back in court after your lawsuit is finalized. Your ex-spouse will surely refuse to allow you to rob him or her of his or her rights as a parent. For sure your ex-spouse will file a counter lawsuit if ever you will win the initial lawsuit for exclusive parental rights. You will keep doing so until you tire each other out, and in the meantime, your child will suffer. It is also likely that the child will be unhappy when he or she is cut off from the other parent.
So do yourself and your child a favor. Communicate, cooperate with your ex-spouse, try your best and make an effort to make co-parenting work, for your child.

Here are other articles that would that would be helpful in protecting the rights and duties of Texas parents:

Child Custody and Support Issues When Your Child Resides Outside of Texas

What You Need To Know About Conservatorship in Texas

Dealing with the New School Year After Your Divorce in Texas

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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

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