What Is Conservatorship? How Does CPS Removal Involve Conservatorship?

Are you contemplating a family law case? Are you facing situations where a family court judge’s intervention is necessary to address issues related to the end of your marriage, your children’s well-being, or the enforcement of previous child support or child custody orders? If so, you’re likely familiar with the crucial aspects of a family law case. Among these, conservatorship and CPS involvement are key considerations. It’s no surprise that issues concerning your marriage and your children take center stage in family law proceedings. They are often the most significant concerns for those involved.

With that said, one of the topics at the top of any list in child custody cases is conservatorship. Conservatorships are a long, legal word  but probably don’t have a great idea of what it means. A term that is much shorter and easier to digest is custody. Everybody knows what custody means or at least what it refers to. Custody has to do with the central components of your life, your child’s life, and your relationship with one another. It doesn’t take a lot of experience in a family law case to understand what custody means.

Exploring the significance of conservatorship in family law and CPS cases

Conservatorship sounds pretty formal and important but is not as widely utilized as custody. It might surprise you to discover that the Texas family code doesn’t mention the term “custody” at all. Conversely, it extensively addresses the topic of conservatorships. With that said, judges, and attorneys in the general public use the term custody much more than they do conservatorship. That doesn’t mean that we can skip over this topic or only reference issues regarding children regarding custody.

Right there, we need to take some time and discuss what conservatorships are and how they will impact your life. Specifically, if you find yourself in a CPS case in Texas, the topic of conservatorships takes on added importance. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we will spend some time discussing what conservatorships. We’ll discuss how it functions within a family law case.

What does conservatorship mean?

The term conservatorship is a critically important one to anyone involved in a family law case. Conservatorship refers to the rights and duties that a person can hold about another person. In family law cases, we often address situations where you’d act as a conservator for a child. However, a court can appoint a conservator for an incapacitated adult.

As I mentioned a moment ago, conservatorship issues are critical to a family law case. Most parents prioritize the time spent with their children. Theoretically, we can adjust our rights and duties concerning our children, but time is irreplaceable. In other words, time is finite. For this reason, most parents that I know (including myself) value the time with our kids a great deal.

Parental focus and a holistic approach in family law

Time is not the only factor to be concerned with as a parent, however. Clients talk to our attorneys here at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan all the time about how much time they want to be able to spend with their children after their child custody or divorce case has ended. I think most parents focus so intensely on their relationship with their children first and foremost. Everything else comes in second place in a family case.

In family cases, adopting a multi-faceted approach is advisable over fixating on a single issue, regardless of its significance. Conservatorship focuses on every aspect of your parenting life. All of the important parts of your life are apparent to center around conservative ship issues. Conservatorships may not seem significant outside of family law cases. However, following a child custody or divorce proceeding, they become central to every decision you make concerning your child.

Fundamentally, conservatorships refer to your ability to make decisions and have the right to do so about your kids. Conservatorships encompass decisions regarding where your child lives, the school they attend, their medical treatment, and various other topics. You may not think much about where the child goes to school, but two subjects have likely led to your increased consideration of this topic.

Child education and conservatorship

For one, the coronavirus pandemic has put our children’s education at the forefront of many people’s minds. Certain schools have been open extensively since the beginning of the pandemic, while others have yet to open. Even in Texas, where restrictions on in-person gatherings have been minimal compared to other states, this holds true. Studies show that children do better with in-person learning compared to virtual learning. With that said, you should be focusing on new child education more so now than ever.

In a family law case, your ability to make decisions regarding conservatorships may be altered from what you’re accustomed to. Before involving a family law court, parents typically share rights and duties equally concerning their children. However, once in family court, a judge will finalize how conservatorship rights are divided across various crucial aspects of your children’s lives. For instance, while you may still have access to your child’s grades and the ability to schedule parent-teacher conferences, you might not have the authority to decide where your child goes to school. This significant shift underscores the importance of focusing intensely on conservatorship issues during a family law case.

Conservatorships put a premium on your ability as a parent 2 make decisions for your child regarding where they live. This is the next subject that I would like to discuss with you in today’s blog post. How do conservatorships impact you and your child’s life from the standpoint of determining the primary residence of your children?

Where your child lives after a family law case is determined based upon conservatorships grounds

Probably the most highly sought-after right regarding conservatorships issues within a Texas family law case is the right to determine the primary residence of your children. In my opinion, more divorce and child custody cases go to trial on this subject than on any other. Even if you and your child’s other parents share parenting duties about your child on an equal basis across the board, one of you will likely be named as the parent who has the primary right to determine the child’s home.

This is the difference between a primary conservator in a possessory conservator. A primary conservator has the upper hand when it comes to decision-making on behalf of your child regarding issues discussing where your child lives on a primary basis. On the other hand, a possessory conservator still retains rights and duties about your child. Still, you would take a backseat in major decision-making areas like education and health issues. For instance, a primary conservator may have final, independent, or exclusive decision-making capabilities regarding your child in some of these areas.

Determining your position as a potential primary conservator

You should examine your particular circumstances and determine what sort of position you are in as far as becoming a primary conservator to your child. Doing so would allow you to put yourself in a position where you could more readily spend time with your child and make decisions on their behalf. However, no two circumstances are exactly alike, and you need to be honest with yourself whether or not you have a good chance to be named as your child’s primary Conservator.

If your case were to make it to a trial, a judge would consider what role you have played in your child’s life to that point. For instance, if you are a father who spends a great deal of time outside the home working and tending to your family’s business, then you may not have been able to spend as much time at home with your child. This does not make you a bad parent or negligent, but it displays those parenting roles were divided differently in your home than others.

Factors considered in primary conservatorship determinations

What family courts look for its stability and consistency in parenting. All other things being equal, a court would likely not name you as a primary conservator instead of naming your spouse in that role if she has more frequently held that responsibility to this point. This does not mean that you couldn’t grow into the role or are not a fit parent. It does mean that a judge is unlikely to want to rock the applecart, so to speak. To push your case to a trial on this subject when you are unlikely to win the designation of a primary conservator may be a mistake for you.

If you are concerned about this scenario in your case, then I would recommend speaking to your attorney about your issues early on. They can guide you on the likelihood of your being named as primary conservator or the likelihood of you retaining or winning certain rights or duties in the case itself. It is better to receive an unbiased and objective response from your attorney rather than to rely upon assurances or promises made to you by other people. Your attorney will know your specific circumstances and possess knowledge of the law and how judges typically administer rulings.

The significance of conservatorships issues within a Texas Child Protective Services case

Now that we have a better idea about what conservatorships mean, we can discuss what the subject has to do with Child Protective Services cases. The vast majority of the time that Texas families become involved with Child Protective Services, it regards potential incidents of abuse or neglect of a child. Child Protective Services receives phone calls and electronic tips on abuse and neglect of children every day, and their responsibility is to investigate and substantiate those reports if able.

Suppose that you have been accused of having abused or neglected your child. This means that a CPS caseworker or investigator will likely reach out to you in person and over the phone to conduct interviews with you, any other adult living in your home, examine your home, and speak to your child. All of this goes along with an investigation that will determine whether or not abuse or neglect has occurred.

The severity of CPS cases

The outcome of a CPS case typically involves completing some parenting classes and steps being taken to remove potential dangers from home. This may mean fixing a defect in the home or a structural issue that causes a risk of physical harm to your child. It also may mean removing people or other circumstances from the home that would otherwise endanger the child. For most families, once these steps have been taken, the CPS case will be closed, and you will be able to proceed with your life without CPS intervention.

However, for other families, a CPS case can become much more serious. Depending both on the risk of harm to your child and on your willingness to participate in the case itself, the state of Texas may ask a judge to consider terminating your parental rights. This is a dire situation for you to find yourself in. Terminating your parental rights means that you will no longer be a Conservatory child. This means that any legal right you had to make decisions for your child and spend time with your child will be illuminated. It would be as if you never appeared to that child in the 1st place.

This type of situation does not come up very often in CPS cases. Terminating parental rights is rare in Texas CPS cases because the state generally aims to avoid it. However, in extreme cases, parents may refuse to engage in remedial measures. This prompts the state to seek termination for the child’s welfare.

Protecting your conservatorship rights in CPS cases

Once you find yourself in a circumstance like this, you are in for the fight of your life regarding your conservative shipwrights. All of the benefits and responsibilities of parenting that we have discussed in today’s blog post would be removed from your life, where your parental rights are to be terminated completely. The other thing to remember is that once your parental rights are terminated, your ability to reverse this type of finding is limited.

For that reason, I would strongly recommend working with an experienced family law attorney if you’re involved in a CPS case of any kind, especially concerning conservatorship. Even if your CPS case seems minor initially, it could escalate into something more significant. This is particularly true if you fail to participate in safety planning or other interventions recommended by CPS. Simply hoping the CPS case will resolve itself is insufficient. Their ability to significantly impact your life and disrupt your relationship with your child is genuine. Therefore, taking a CPS case seriously and securing the best legal representation available is essential to protect your conservatorship rights regarding your child.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material shared in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.


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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. The Essence of Conservatorship: More than Law, It’s a Lifeline!
  2. Sole managing conservatorships: Full custody in Texas
  3. Joint managing conservatorship in Texas
  4. How to stand up for yourself during a Texas CPS case
  5. How to prevent a second CPS investigation after your first concludes
  6. Family Law Cases in Texas: The final stages of a CPS case
  7. When can CPS remove your child from your home in Texas, and what can you do about it?
  8. What to do if you no longer like your CPS service plan?
  9. In what circumstances could your child end up living with your relative during a CPS case?
  10. What can a CPS investigation into your family mean now and in the future?
  11. What to do if CPS is investigating your spouse in Texas for abuse or neglect of your child?
  12. Can CPS photograph your house and request your child’s medical records in Texas?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas CPS Defense Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding CPS, it’s essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX CPS defense Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our CPS defense lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles CPS defense cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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