When parents get divorced, custody of the minor children is usually their most pressing concern.
Texas has its own terminology and method of handling these issues. Understanding as much as you can about how custody works can help you navigate your situation more easily.
The difference between “conservatorship” and “possession and access”
Parental rights are basically divided into “conservatorship” and “possession and access.” Conservatorship is the right of a parent to make important decisions on the child’s behalf, including things like what medical care they receive, which school they attend and more. Possession and access refers to the way that parenting time is divided between the two parents, and is often called the visitation schedule.
Generally speaking, the court will try to keep both parents involved in their children’s lives, so it’s common for the court to give them joint managing conservatorship, rather than assigning one parent the sole authority over the child’s welfare.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. The court may decide that sole managing conservatorship is inappropriate when there are significant conflicts between the parents regarding religion or lifestyle or when one parent has a history of mental illness, neglect, addiction or abuse.
Similarly, possession and access is also usually shared. Ideally, parents will work together to develop a personalized visitation plan that suits their family’s needs, but the court can fall back on either a standard possession order or one of its own design.
Understanding more about your options when it comes to custody of your children
One of the best things that parents can do when they’re approaching a divorce is to focus on the needs of their minor children both in the present and in the future. A well-developed parenting plan can make things easier. Working with an experienced family law attorney can often help you uncover options you didn’t realize were there and protect the parent-child relationship that is so important to you.