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Facts about joint managing conservatorship

The legal term for joint child custody in Texas is a joint managing conservatorship. Texas courts work under the assumption that in most situations, it is in the best interest of the child that both parents be conservators. Sole managing conservatorship is generally reserved for situations where the other parent has a history of criminal activity, family violence or has previously had little to no contact with the child.

While both parents reserve certain rights as conservators, a joint managing conservatorship does not guarantee that the parents have equal visitation rights. Some parenting rights may still be awarded to a single parent. Conservatorship does, however, always include the right to obtain information about the child's health and education from the other parent, the right to discuss the child with doctors or school officials and review the child's records, and the right to consent to treatment for the child in an emergency situation.

A standard possession order defines visitation, or in Texas legal terminology, access to and possession of the child. If a judge rules that both parents may have possession, the parents may work out a schedule between them. If such an agreement proves impossible, the judge will determine the schedule. When one parent has sole possession, the non-custodial parent is usually ordered by the court to pay support until the child reaches age 18.

Parents currently going through a divorce or filing for a child custody modification may wish to seek the legal counsel of a child custody attorney. Such an attorney might be able to represent the parent in court and even persuade the judge to provide a possession order that provides the greatest amount of parenting rights.

Source: findlaw, "Joint Managaing Conservatorship", December 22, 2014

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