Divorce has become a regular component of many relationships in the United States. Some people decide that it’s best to part ways, rather than stay in a relationship that just isn’t working. Unfortunately, children find themselves caught in the middle of such break-ups. Each state in the United States has its own set of child custody laws. We’ll provide a guide to the custody laws of Texas.
Differences in Custody Laws
A divorce can be a long and trying process. What makes it even more difficult is figuring out who will become the custodial parent for a child. Though the parent-child relationship is taken into consideration when it comes to figuring out that parent will obtain child custody, factors such as economic standing also come into play. Other questions to be answered are is there a history of domestic violence when it comes to one of the parents? Do either of the parents lack sufficient living arrangements to take care of the child?
Each of these factors is broken down even further in that custody laws aren’t uniform across the USA. Every state in this country has its differences in how the custody laws work in such cases. Using Texas custody laws as an example, this state can act as a highlight of the many differences you find when dealing with child custody issues. For example, in Texas, the word “custody” has been replaced by “conservatorship”. In Texas both terms are identical.
So, in Texas custody cases, the parent who receives custodial parent rights is called a conservator. Outside of the state of Texas, conservatorship usually involves people who are tasked with taking care of the disabled or someone who is unable to take care of themselves. This is the biggest difference that you’ll find when discussing or dealing with custody laws for the state of Texas.
Types of Conservatorships
The biggest difference so far that we’ve highlighted between Texas and the rest of the United States when it comes to TX custody laws, is the idea of conservatorship. Two types of conservatorships exist in TX custody law. The first is a managing conservator. This type of conservatorship itself is broken down even further into sole managing conservators and joint managing conservators.
When you’re dealing with sole managing conservators, you’re focusing on when a parent has obtained sole custody of the child. This is a very high standard to reach, and in such a case it must be proven beyond a doubt that this conservatorship is in the best interest of the child. This type of child custody is granted in cases where there’s a history of domestic violence, family, or drug/ alcohol abuse.
The second type of managing conservatorship involves joint managing conservators. This is more common in TX child custody cases. This can be a complicated form of joint custody because you now have to figure how guardianship will best fit the child’s needs. The rights and duties of the child must be divided up equally between both parents. Lastly, possessory conservators occur when a person is given rights to certain periods of the child’s life.
Many parents seek out arbitration to determine how to settle many of these cases. The hope is that a custody arrangement can be met. This arbitration might include trying to figure out the primary residence of the child. The discussion of child support and visitation rights might also be included in such major decisions during such arbitration. Courts in TX sometimes want such matters to be handled outside of family court. These are the various forms of conservatorships that exist in Texas.
In Texas, when a child is twelve years old their opinion and preference are considered for what the child wants. This might give the court a chance to learn more about a parent-child relationship. Sometimes the child might even just have a desire to stay with a parent, so they won’t have to go to a different school. A child doesn’t have a total say in who they stay with until they reach the age of 18. A child has limited say in Texas child custody cases.