Establishing Child Custody
We work with your child's best interest at heart. The most important factor for parents is the best interest of the child(ren).
It is your duty as a mother or father to love them, protect them, teach, and guide your child(ren) through life.
Whether you are going through a divorce or trying to establish paternity, it is important to understand how child custody works in Texas. In Texas, rather than being awarded “custody” of a child(ren) parents in Texas are appointed as joint managing conservators or one parent can be appointed as sole managing conservator and possessory conservator.
HOW DO I ESTABLISH CHILD CUSTODY FOR MY CHILD(REN)?
The way to establish child custody for your child(ren) is one of two ways, but both ways will require a court order.
1. Establishing paternity of your child(ren) for unmarried parents.
HOW DOES CONSERVATORSHIP (CHILD CUSTODY) WORK IN TEXAS?
The issues at hand in child custody matters is conservatorship, possession of and access, and residency. Rather than one parent
being awarded custody or both parents being awarded joint custody, in Texas it is referred to as joint managing conservators or
sole managing conservator. When a child spends time with one parent it is referred to as “possession of and access.”
The Texas Family Code makes it very clear that “the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.” The Texas Family Code further clarifies that “it is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of the parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child.” It is always the presumptions of the court that parents should share custody and should co-parent. There are rare occasions that sole managing conservatorship is needed and warranted to maintain the best interest of the child.
Because the Texas Family Code makes it very clear that the best interest of the child shall always be first, parents are entitled to be designated as co-equal parents with virtually identical rights, responsibilities, and duties.
HOW IS A POSSESSION ORDER ESTABLISHED?
A possession order can be ordered by a judge as part of a divorce case, suit affecting parent-child relationship case (SAPCR case),
paternity case, or a family violence protective order case.
CAN A POSSESSION ORDER BE CHANGED?
Yes, a possession order can be changed by a judge in a modification case.
WHAT IS JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATORSHIP?
Joint managing conservatorship (JMCs) means the parents share in decision making abilities about most issues with the child(ren). It
does not mean the child(ren) time is split equally between the parents.
WHAT IS SOLE MANAGING CONSERVATORSHIP?
Sole managing conservatorship (SMC) means you are the only parent with the legal right to make certain decisions concerning your child.
It does not mean that your child(ren) will not see the other parent.
WHAT IS POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR?
Possessory conservator is the parent who is not a “managing” conservator. A possessory conservator has the right to have physical
possession of the child(ren). A possessory conservator still has rights but does not have the final say on most decisions.
WHAT IS A POSSESSION ORDER?
A possession order will say when each parent has the right to time with the child. There are several types of possession orders in Texas:
1. Standard Possession Order (SPO).
2. Extended Standard Possession Orders (EXSPO).
3. 50/50 Possession Order.
4. Modified Possession Order.
5. Possession Order for a child under the age of 3.
6. Supervised Possession Order.
The battle usually occurs over who will designate the primary possession of the child(ren). The parent who is designated as the primary
possession parent is normally the one who has the exclusive right to child support, and the exclusive right to designate the residence of
There are many important issues at stake in determining who shall have custody of the child(ren). Nothing is more than your children. You need to have a skilled family law attorney who will listen to you, listen to your concerns, and help you craft the right possession order for you and your family.
Let our team at Heather Hudson Law Firm, PLLC, help you better understand this process.