Texas does things its own way — and that includes how it refers to the custody of a couple’s children when parents divorce.
You’ll have a much easier time understanding what’s happening in your own divorce and custody case if you’re familiar with the basic language that gets used in Texas family courts. Here are some terms you should know:
Possession and access
In Texas, the parent with physical custody of the child is called the possessory conservator and what other states refer to as “visitation” is called “access.” (It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the court can make both parents a child’s possessory conservator, and that may happen when custody is split roughly in half.)
There’s more to parenting than merely keeping a child housed, clothed and fed. Parents are constantly asked to make important decisions that can have tremendous consequences on a child’s future. This includes things like:
- Where a child will go to school and what type of classes they will take
- What special services or extracurriculars the child will have
- What sort of religious instruction the child will have
- What medical or psychiatric care the child will receive
Those kinds of decisions are left up to the child’s managing conservator. If the court makes one parent the sole managing conservator, that parent has unilateral control over these issues. If the court makes the parents joint managing conservators for their children (which is more usual), then co-parents must work together to make these major judgment calls.
Working through your family’s legal issues during and after a divorce can take patience and skill, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Learn more about your options today.