In Texas, child custody or conservatorship is a hotly contested issue. Sole conservatorship can be extremely difficult to achieve because there is a presumption that joint conservatorship is the most beneficial option for the child.
If you have not previously filed an order, then you will need to create one with the court. If you have already begun a conservatorship order, then you will need to modify the order.
How Can I Win Full Custody in Texas?
The most important thing to a Texas court is the best interest of the child. The judge will determine conservatorship based on what would work best for the child.
Some factors a judge will consider are:
- wishes of the child;
- the emotional and physical needs of the child;
- any danger to the child;
- the parental abilities of each party;
- home stability;
- plans the parents have for the child;
- evidence of domestic violence;
- falsified reports of child abuse.
You can also fight for sole custody if you are able to prove that the other parent is an "unfit parent." If there has been domestic violence in the past, then it can be easier for the parent seeking sole conservatorship (if they were not the one convicted of violence) to obtain the order. Under the Texas Family Code, any parent guilty of domestic violence is prohibited from managing the responsibilities of their child.
What Are Grounds for Sole Custody?
The only grounds for custody in Texas are "the best interests of the child," which are ultimately decided by the court. Common reasons why parents seek sole custody include:
- Substance abuse (alcoholism; drug addiction)
- Domestic violence / child abuse
- Child neglect
- Mental health issues
- Financial issues
- Unstable home environment
Joint Managing Conservator vs. Sole Managing Conservator
When two people share the rights and duties of raising a child, it is considered joint managing conservatorship.
Each parent has the right to:
- designate the primary residence of the child;
- consent to medical, dental, and/or surgical treatments;
- consent to psychiatric and psychological treatments;
- receive child support payments and hold or disburse these funds for the child;
- represent the child in legal action and make other decisions of legal significance;
- consent to marriage or enlistment in the military;
- make decisions concerning education;
- earnings of the child; and
- act as an agent of the child in relation to the child's estate.
However, when one parent is named the Sole Managing Conservator they are the only parent legally able to make the decisions listed above. Despite this fact, the other parent still has a legal right to some form of child visitation. It is up to the parent with sole conservatorship to determine when the visitation will take place, but it must.
Possession and Access
A possession plan is decided by the parent with sole managing conservatorship. This is called a possession and access schedule and refers to when each parent has physical possession of the child. The custodial parent has the majority of possession time but must give some time to the other parent.
Providing Legal Guidance to Guardians
If you have decided to seek sole conservatorship from a family court, our child conservatorship attorneys can help. We provide passionate counsel and representation to every client and will do everything we can to guide you through this process.
Call our attorneys today at (817) 374-4056 or contact us online for your free initial consultation.