Conservatorship, Possession and Access

Public Policy   

In Texas the public policy is to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contacts with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child. The courts also seek to provide a safe, stable and nonviolent environment for the child and to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.   Finally, a court may not render an order that conditions the right of a conservator to possession or access to a child on the payment of child support. 

Parental Presumption   

In Texas, there is a presumption that a parent should be appointed either as a sole managing conservator or jointly with the other parent as a joint managing conservator of the children. This presumption can be overcome in favor of another adult not the parent if the court finds that the appointment of the parent or parents would not be in the best interest of the child because the appointment would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development. 

Joint Managing Conservatorship is Presumed to be Best for the Child

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.  A finding of a history of family violence involving the parents of a child removes this presumption. 

Exercising Parental Rights and Duties

The courts can rule that the exercise of parental rights and duties shall be by agreement, independently or exclusively. This give the court flexibility in matters, for example,  of how educational or medical decisions are made.   Plus, in Texas orders there is a mandatory listing of rights and duties of parents so as to clearly state what the parents need to do on behalf of their child.

The Standard Possession Order

The Texas Family Code contains a standard possession order addressing access to and possession of a child.  There is a rebuttable presumption that the standard possession order provides reasonable minimum possession of a child for a parent named as a possessory conservator or joint managing conservator.  Parents can agree on all matters of access and possession and, failing an agreement, can invoke their rights under the standard possession order.  It’s a backstop!  Parents can also customize a possession order.  And, the courts can also customize an access and possession order in the best interest of the child. 

Matters of conservatorship, access and possession are critical in family cases where minor children are involved and these matters need the help of an experienced family and divorce attorney to assist a client in making sure those matters are addressed properly.  Call us at 915-593-6600 or 915-256-0579.  We are here to help!!  Don’t go it alone on these matters!!