For parents beginning a divorce proceeding, the issue of child custody is always at the forefront of both parent’s concerns. Both want to remain constant in their children’s lives, and they want to make this transition as hassle-free as possible. The ultimate goal is to remind all children involved that they are loved, cared for and valued.
At the Law Offices of Wendy L. Hart, our goal is to do what is in the best interest of the child or children. We want to keep child custody cases as civil as possible, and we want to ensure that both parents remain active, loving parts of their child or children’s lives.
Conservatorship – Child Custody and Texas Law
Like our firm, Texas law places the child’s safety and best interest above all other interests. In Texas, child custody is referred to as “conservatorship.” A conservator is another word for a child’s custodian or guardian and it outlines the legal rights and any responsibilities for each parent.
As a divorce gets underway, parents are given the opportunity to work out a plan for child custody, but in the event an agreement cannot be reached, a family law judge will draft the terms of a conservatorship. If the parents do reach an agreement, the court will give a final approval, and the parents can move forward.
Types of Conservatorship
In general, most parents in Fort Worth are allowed one of two types of conservatorship: joint managing conservatorship or sole managing conservatorship.
Most parents are automatically given a joint managing conservatorship unless there is compelling evidence that shows one parent is unfit to have conservatorship. In this joint form of conservatorship, both parents have equal rights and access to their child or children. A judge will then divide the responsibilities between both parents and decide which ones will be handle separately and jointly.
A sole managing conservatorship may be awarded to one parent over the other if one parent has:
- A documented history family violence or neglect
- A documented history of alcohol or drug abuse or other criminally-related activity.
- Been absent from a child or children’s lives for an extended period of time.
- An extreme disagreement with the other parent regarding the educational, religious, or medical concerning of the child or children.
If one parent is awarded sole managing conservatorship, then he or she has the right to decide several major decisions that will affect the child without consulting the other parent. For example, the parent can decide where the child will live and what types of medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological treatment he or she will receive. All emergency contact forms will have one parent listed, and that parent will have the right to attend any school or sporting activities.
There is, of course, more to these conservatorship types. If you have been granted one or the other and have questions, contact us at the Law Offices of Wendy L. Hart. We can help you every step of the way.
Rights of a Conservatorship
Parents who are given a conservatorship are ensured access to certain parental rights, including:
- The ability to receive information from the other parents about the child/children’s educations, welfare and health.
- Any direct access to the child’s medical, dental, psychological, and educational records.
- The ability to talk directly to a child’s doctors, dentist, or psychologist as well as teachers or school administrators.
- The ability to give consent for the child’s medical, dental, and surgical treatments during any type of emergency where the child’s health and safety is at risk.
These rights guarantee that you can still be an active participant in your child or children’s lives. Your child’s doctor may legally speak with you about your child’s health and wellbeing, and your child’s teacher may share information regarding your child’s performance in school as well as any problems your child may be having at school.
We know how vital it is to be included in your child or children’s live, and as an experience family law attorney experienced in Fort Worth child custody cases, I will protect your rights to information concerning your children.
Conservatorship and Possession
What many parents worry about when walking into court is that their possession schedule will be decided right then and there. If you and your now ex-spouse are made joint managing conservators, then you are both guaranteed the rights outlined above.
The possession schedule will be decided at another time. Agreeing to a joint management conservator situation is only the first step in this procedure. No matter what, you need an experienced family law attorney by your side who will work with you to get you the best results and do everything possible to ensure that your child is properly cared for.
Get an Experienced Family Law and Child Custody Attorney in Forth Worth to Fight For You and Your Child
Call our law office in Fort Worth today at (817) 842-2336, or fill out our online form for a consultation on your child custody case.