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Child custody in Texas

In Texas, child custody is referred to as conservatorship. A parent or guardian who has custody of a child is referred to as a conservator. The state typically assumes that the parents should be placed into a joint managing conservatorship. This means that both parents have rights to visit with, communicate with and make certain decisions for the child. However, a judge may determine that only one parent can make certain decisions depending on the best interest of the child.

In some cases, one parent may be granted the right to enter into a sole managing conservatorship. In such event, that parent is given the right to make all decisions regarding that child's welfare. These decisions may range from where the child will live to where or how the child is educated.

A judge may grant one parent the right to make decisions without consulting the other parent if, for example, one parent has a history of abusing the child or the other parent or if the parent has a history of substance abuse. Also, a parent who is not actively involved in a child's life will sometimes not be granted the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. Regardless of the reason, that designation will be made if it is in the best interest of the child.

Talking to a family law attorney may be helpful when trying to gain custody of a child. The attorney may be able to help a parent win sole custody or earn partial custody if the other parent is seeking sole custody. In so doing, the attorney will help the parent establish that the request for child custody is in the child's best interest.

Source: Findlaw, "Child Custody in Texas", September 01, 2014

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