Primary Conservatorship and Active Duty Service Members

Let’s look at some terminology for a minute!  In Texas we don’t use the terms “custody”, “primary custody”,  “physical custody” or “legal custody”. These terms may appear in divorce decrees from other states, but in Texas we talk about sole managing conservatorship and joint managing conservatorship.  Here is some language right out of the Texas Family Code:

“…a parent shall be appointed sole managing conservator or both parents shall be appointed as joint managing conservators of the child.” Then the Code goes on to say, “It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of the parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child.” (Texas Family Code, Section 153.131)

So, if a parent wants to be named as sole managing conservator then he or she must overcome the presumption in favor of joint managing  conservatorship.  That requires special evidence.  In some cases the parties will agree that one of the two parents shall be named as the sole managing conservator.  No two cases are the same!

Some military clients believe that because they are military they have very limited conservatorship rights.  This is wrong!  I have done cases in which the service member is named as a sole managing conservator and when that service member is deployed he or she can even designate a family care plan that does NOT involve the other former spouse!  It is all  a matter of the facts before the court.

There is no legal presumption that a service member cannot be named either a primary joint managing conservator with the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child  or as a sole managing conservator of the child.  Again, we can help you look at the facts in your case!!  Contact us or call use at (915) 593-6600 if you have any questions.