Joint managing conservatorship in Texas

When you hear the word “conservatorship” what comes to mind? If you are staring at the word blankly then don’t feel bad. Conservatorship is a word that is very important yet not often used. Almost surely you are more familiar with the term custody. Custody is a term that we use all the time in our culture. Child custody cases are some of the most filed civil cases in Texas and across the country. As a result, the term custody impacts many people daily.

Conservatorship is the formal, legal version of custody. All the rights and duties you have concerning your children are encapsulated within your conservatorship rights. The ability for you and your co-parent to raise your children is wrapped up within this term. As a result, being a conservator of your child means a great deal. Understanding your conservatorship rights and duties is a critical part of parenting successfully.

Coming out of a child custody or divorce case this is especially true. You and your co-parent have a challenge on your hands. Namely, you all are tasked with figuring out a way to raise a child together in separate households. Most frequently, parents are named as joint managing conservators coming out of a family law case. 

A presumption in favor of a joint managing conservatorship

In Texas, the presumption in a family law setting is that parents serve their children best by acting as joint managing conservators. The default setting, therefore, is to be named as a joint managing conservator. Both you and your co-parent have rights and duties concerning your child. On top of that, the expectation is that the two of you share those rights and duties on a somewhat equal basis. This allows both of you to speak into the lives of your child. It also allows your child to benefit from both parents having a say in their life.

Many of you are probably not too happy to hear this. After going through a family law case, the last thing you may want is to have a responsibility to raise your child with your co-parent. However, that is exactly what we are talking about here. Many families struggle with this transition. As important as it is to learn about conservatorship rights and duties it is just as important to learn about co-parenting. When you and your co-parent are on the same page when it comes to issues related to your children there is nothing that can stop you and your child. 

However, when parents struggle with co-parenting there is almost nothing that will not become a major issue in your lives. Every small issue in the world of co-parenting becomes a major obstacle to overcome when you and your co-parent cannot see eye to eye. More than that, when you and your co-parent are disrespectful towards one another the situation becomes even worse.

What are the most crucial rights and duties you have concerning your child?

The right which most people have the most concern regarding is determining the primary residence of your child. Being able to determine the primary residence of your child means having your child live with you throughout the school year. When it comes down to it, you have physical possession of your child more than your co-parent if he or she lives with you primarily. 

As you can imagine, this is a distinction that comes with a great deal of emotion attached to it. If you were to consider the circumstance that most often leads to trials and hearings in family law cases, debates over primary conservatorship are at the top of the list. Other than this right many of the rights and duties you and your co-parent share are split equally. As a result, focusing on determining the primary residence of your children is sensical.

Geographic restrictions are a part of this discussion, as well. A geographic restriction involves the court being able to determine where your primary residence may be. This is crucial to allow for both parents to have a meaningful relationship with their child. Otherwise, you or your co-parent can move across the country and leave the other parent behind. Negotiating for a geographic restriction that is in the best interest of your child means having solid advice. Working with the experienced attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan provides the kind of leg up that you need in this type of circumstance.

Choosing a geographic restriction

Again, it is technically optional to have a geographic restriction in your case. There is no requirement under the Texas Family Code that a geographic restriction be applied to your circumstances. However, courts typically like to include these geographic restrictions. The primary reason is to help facilitate the parent-child relationship for both mom and dad.

Even though a geographic restriction is likely in your case that does not mean that one-size-fits-all. To that end, a geographic restriction in your case should consider the needs of your family. Families can be as specific or general as you would like with the geographic restriction. Families include geographic restrictions for areas as large as the state of Texas or as small as a school district in their court orders. again, it is up to you and your co-parent how to handle this subject. Including a geographic restriction makes sense in a lot of ways. In the future, modifying your court orders to lift the geographic restriction may also become a reality.

On a practical level, a geographic restriction helps to ease the burden of the parent responsible for providing transportation. Anyone who lives in a large city in Texas understands how difficult getting around can be. It seems like every road in Texas is either under construction or about to be under construction. Therefore, finding a groove with transporting your children is essential. Having a geographic restriction and living close to your co-parents makes life easier for you and your family.

The most important rights of a parent

Thinking about our relationship with our children, we tend to focus on time rather than rights and duties. This is understandable. So much of our concern in a family law case centers around losing time with our kids. It is completely reasonable to want to maximize our time with the kids in a family law case. 

However, the rights and duties you have concerning your children are also critically important. As we have already seen, these rights and duties inform the amount of time we can spend with our children. While issues related to visitation and possession matter, it is not a good idea to completely ignore the other rights and duties as well. What sort of rights and duties do we have in mind?

Think about the major issues of your child’s life. All of them are encapsulated within the conservatorship rights and duties in a child custody or divorce case. However, three rights tend to matter more than others. The first that we will discuss has to do with psychological issues. Specifically, the ability for you as a parent to make decisions about therapy and treatment of your child.

Psychological treatment

It should come as no surprise that children sometimes require psychiatric care. As a result, that care may be received through the school, a doctor, or through a mental health counselor. It is possible to take for granted this care and the ability for your child to receive it when necessary. Many families ignore psychological issues until they become burdensome for a child. Hopefully, that does not happen with your family. To help with this problem, families negotiate for specific rights and duties related to mental health care. These rights and duties are outlined in your family court orders.

Since these issues are so critical to the well-being of your child, they are not something you should ignore or overlook. There are undoubtedly issues that will draw more attention to your case. However, do not overlook these subjects. Rather, spend the time that you need looking at these subjects with your attorney. Psychiatric issues impact your child both inside and outside the classroom. Many families find that the help of a seasoned psychologist or therapist provides the sort of help that a child has been searching for for years.

Medical treatment

Every parent reading this blog post has concerns over the physical well-being of their children. We have all been in that position where we receive a phone call from our child’s school, and we learned that our child has either been hurt or suffered a close call with their physical health. Or we have seen an issue happen at home involving our child in a medical issue. It is a scary, disorienting, and helpless position to be in as a parent. We want what is best for our children. However, the reality of the situation is that parents can only do so much in the moment to help their children. This places a unique amount of emphasis on planning for situations involving the health of your child.

In a practical sense, we are talking about medical, dental, and invasive surgical treatment. These are usually subjects that allow for some degree of planning and discussion. Almost certainly a parent has the ability in most child custody orders to make decisions about emergency medical treatment. This would be the type of medical treatment where a phone call to your co-parent, for example, would not be practical. Instead, emergencies involve life-and-death decisions that need to be made very quickly.

Rather, the type of medical treatment we are contemplating here involves vaccines, elective surgeries, and basic dental care. These treatment options are important for the well-being of your child. Additionally, they are important when considering their price tags. Any of us who have had medical care understand the costs even when insurance becomes involved. As such, having a say in your child’s medical care is something that every parent should be concerned with.

Educational outcomes and decision making

The other important area of decision-making ability for a parent relates to educational outcomes. Your child’s education is something that matters now and in the future. So much of your child’s educational outcomes depend upon the positions he or she finds himself in. If your child is not doing well in school, then he or she may need to be left back a grade. This is not the end of the world. However, being able to communicate your justifications to your child can help determine how well your child receives that decision.

On top of that, anytime your school needs to reach out to you or your co-parent your opinion needs to be heard. The relationship between school and parent is of vital importance. Your opinion on matters related to education may differ significantly from those of your co-parent. When both parents can voice their opinions then your child benefits tremendously.

When it comes to school-related issues in your child, there is a built-in tiebreaker in the form of your child’s school. Suppose that you and your co-parent do not agree on some matter related to your child’s education. This can happen in any number of subjects. When the school asks for your opinion, it will do the same for your parents. When there are disagreements between the two sides expect that the school will help the playtime breaker. A counselor or teacher who knows your child would give their opinion on the subject. From there, the decision will be made with those three votes in mind.

What other rights and duties exist in a child custody situation?

Educational, psychiatric, and medical decision-making abilities are not the only ones that matter for your child. Other areas of your child’s life will also come into play. Understanding the long-term implications of these decisions shows proper planning. Being intentional with your co-parent is what separates many parents in terms of effectiveness. Planning your decision-making with your co-parent shows an ability not only to be intentional but also to set aside your differences with your child’s other parent.

Child support is an issue that is of vital importance to joint managing conservators. First, your child stands to benefit a great deal when child support is paid on time and in full. Remember that child support is an emotional subject. However, when you consider that it is your child who stands to benefit the most from proper child support payment it becomes easier to make these payments each month. Do not underestimate the impact that child support can have on the life of your little one.

Understanding the essential aspects of paying child support means looking through your court orders regularly. On top of that, your attorney is a great resource to rely upon. Before the end of your family law case talk to him or her about the finer points of child support. He or she can help you to ensure that child support is paid correctly in that no payments are missed.

The importance of an attorney when negotiating joint managing conservatorship rights

There are options when beginning the process of negotiating conservatorship rights and duties. If what worked for your friend our neighbor will also work for you as a mistake. Rather, taking the time to devise a plan for conservatorship rights and duties is what matters. However, not having much experience in doing this means that you were at a disadvantage. What is the best way for you to regain the advantage and position yourself well when it comes to matters relating to ship rights and duties?

Working with an experienced family law attorney makes a world of difference. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is honored to be able to serve our clients both inside and outside the courtroom. Family law attorneys frequently find themselves in court. However, that does not mean that we do not place importance on negotiation and dialogue. We understand that this is important both now and in the future. The relationship you have with your co-parent has to succeed. If it doesn’t, then expecting your child to thrive in a post-divorce landscape is not realistic.

Instead, increase the likelihood of your child’s success by starting your case off on the right foot. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to help you and your child. We thank you for your time. There are many options in Texas when it comes to family law representation. We hope that you have found this material both interesting and informative. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is on your side.

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 contained 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 consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. Interested in learning more about how your family is impacted by the material in this blog post? Contact us today.

Share this article



Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Today!

At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

Plan Your Visit

Office Hours

Mon-Fri: 8 AM – 6 PM Saturday: By Appointment Only

"(Required)" indicates required fields