For many divorcing couples, nothing is more important than finding a custody arrangement that ensures the child will be well-supported once the divorce is finalized. Family courts in Texas share the same goal and will make sure the child’s needs are met by basing all child conservatorship (earlier known as child custody) decisions on the best interests of the child.
What is a child conservatorship?
Generally, courts will award either Joint Managing Conservatorship (JMC) or Sole Managing Conservatorship (SMC).
- As joint managing conservators, both parents will share parental rights and duties. However, this does not mean that parents will split possession of the child 50-50.
- In a sole managing conservatorship, one parent will have sole parental rights, while the other parent will be given visitation rights as the sole possessory conservator and can only make decisions for the child when the child is with them.
Factors used to determine child conservatorship
Under Texas Family Code Sec. 153, courts may consider various factors when determining conservatorship. Some of these factors may include:
- Each parent’s willingness and ability to care for the child.
- The current and future needs of the child (physical and emotional)
- The desires of the child (generally ages 12 and older)
- The stability of the living environment provided by each parent
- Domestic violence/neglect, if any, in either parent’s home.
- The existing relationship between each parent and the child
Divorcing parents are often willing to compromise with each other to ensure the child’s safety and happiness. However, in some cases, parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own and require the court’s assistance. A family law attorney in your area can help you work through any challenges you face during the divorce process and represent you in court, if necessary.