The New Face of Child Custody and Visitation in Texas

Managing Conservatorships and Possession Replace Custody and Visitation

In an effort to transform the emphasis in divorce proceedings involving children, the Texas Family Law Code has adopted new language to describe which parent will determine where a minor child lives, as well as how both parents will work together in the best interests of minor children. The old concept of “custody,” which many felt focused too much on a view of minor children as “property” of a marriage, has been replaced with the idea of “conservatorship,” which implies caring, nurture and protection of minor children. This blog post offers an overview of how these terms are used and applied in Texas.

At the law office of Len Conner & Associates, P.C., we offer extensive knowledge and experience regarding family law matters to men and women across Texas. For a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns, contact our office by e-mail or call us at (972) 445-1500 or (817) 288-4168 if you’re in the Dallas / Fort Worth Area. Call us toll free at 1 (877) 613-5800.

The Types of Conservatorships

In Texas, a conservatorship involving the minor child of a divorce is known as either a managing conservatorship or a possessory conservatorship. A managing conservatorship conveys a broad range of rights and responsibilities, essentially similar to those either parent would have if both were still married to each other. Among these rights are access to and possession of a minor child, as well as the right to make decisions about the health and welfare of the child. Such decisions can include:

  • Managing the health of the child
  • Determining and meeting the education needs of the child
  • Establishing and monitoring religious training and attendance
  • Involvement in extra-curricular activities
  • Providing any legal consents required

Though the courts prefer to establish “joint managing conservatorships,” where both parents participate in making these decisions, the judge will always designate one parent as the primary managing conservator, with the authority to make the final decision if the parents disagree.

Unlike the managing conservatorship, a possessory conservatorship grants nothing more than access to the child, what the law used to call “visitation.” Typically, the possessory conservatorship will be granted according to a specific schedule. The parents are always free to cooperatively work around and adapt this schedule, but the primary managing conservator will have the final say regarding any deviation.

Contact the Law Office of Len Conner & Associates

For experienced counsel in family law matters, contact our office online or call us at (972) 445-1500 or (817) 288-4168 if you’re in the Dallas / Fort Worth Area. Call us toll free at 1 (877) 613-5800. Your first consultation is free of charge.

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