Custody and Visitation

  1. What is Custody?
  2. What Rights and Duties do I Have as a Parent at all Times?
  3. What Rights and Duties do I Have as a Parent During my Periods of Possession?
  4. What is the Difference Between Joint Managing Conservatorship, Sole Managing Conservatorship and Possessory Conservatorship?
  5. If my Child’s Father and I are Joint Conservators, Does That Mean We Each Have Possession of our Child 6 Months out of the Year?
  6. What is a Standard Possession Order?
Q. What is Custody?

A. In Texas, when we discuss ‘custody’, we use the term ‘conservatorship’. Conservatorship describes the rights between a child and another party, generally the child’s parent.

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Q. What Rights and Duties do I Have as a Parent at all Times?

A. Parental Rights and Duties at All Times

  1. the right to receive information from the other parent concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
  2. the right to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
  3. the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child;
  4. the right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child;
  5. the right to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities;
  6. the right to attend school activities;
  7. the right to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;
  8. the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
  9. the right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent’s family.
  10. the duty to inform the other parent in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child; and
  11. the duty to inform the other parent if the parent resides with for at least thirty days, marries, or intends to marry a person who the parent knows is registered as a sex offender under chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (as added by chapter 668, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 2001) or is currently charged with an offense for which on conviction the person would be required to register under that chapter. IT IS ORDERED that this information shall be tendered in the form of a notice made as soon as practicable, but not later than the fortieth day after the date the parent begins to reside with the person or on the tenth day after the date the marriage occurs, as appropriate. IT IS ORDERED that the notice must include a description of the offense that is the basis of the person’s requirement to register as a sex offender or of the offense with which the person is charged. WARNING: A PERSON COMMITS AN OFFENSE PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR IF THE PERSON FAILS TO PROVIDE THIS NOTICE.
  12. the duty to inform the other conservator of the child[ren] if the conservator establishes a residence with a person who the conservator knows is the subject of a final protective order sought by an individual other than the conservator that is in effect on the date the residence with the person is established, or the conservator resides with or allows unsupervised access to a child, by a person who is the subject of a final protective order sought by the conservator after the expiration of 60-day period following the date the final protective order is issued, or the conservator is the subject of a final protective order issued after the date of the order establishing conservatorship. IT IS ORDERED that this information shall be tendered in the form of a notice made as soon as practicable, but not later than the thirtieth day after the date the conservator of the child[ren] establishes residence with the person who is the subject of the final protective order, or the ninetieth day after the date the final protective order was issued if the conservator of the child[ren] resides with or allows unsupervised access to the person who is the subject of a final protective order sought by the conservator, or the thirtieth day after the date the final protective order issued against the conservator which is issued after the date of the order establishing conservatorship, as appropriate. WARNING: A CONSERVATOR COMMITS AN OFFENSE PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR IF THE CONSERVATOR FAILS TO PROVIDE THIS NOTICE.

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Q. What Rights and Duties do I Have as a Parent During my Periods of Possession?

A. Parental Rights and Duties at All Times

  1. the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
  2. the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;
  3. the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;
  4. the right to consent for the child to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
  5. the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.

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Q. What is the Difference Between Joint Managing Conservatorship, Sole Managing Conservatorship and Possessory Conservatorship?

A. Joint managing conservatorship describes the sharing of rights and duties between two parties, generally the parents. The rights that are shared are the rights to:

  1. designate the primary residence of the child within a specific geographical area, or without regard to a specific geographical area;
  2. consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures;
  3. consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child;
  4. receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child;
  5. represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;
  6. consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States;
  7. make decisions concerning the child’s education;
  8. the services and earnings of the child;
  9. act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government, except when a guardian of the child’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child; and
  10. the duty to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parents.

Sole managing conservatorship is a phrase which describes the allocation of the rights and duty above to one party. The other party is generally described as having a possessory conservatorship, as that party would have none of the rights above, only visitation rights.

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Q. If my Child’s Father and I are Joint Conservators, Does That Mean We Each Have Possession of our Child 6 Months out of the Year?

A. No. Remember, joint conservatorship describes the sharing of parental rights and duties. It does not describe the possession or visitation that parents have with the child.

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Q. What is a Standard Possession Order?

A. A standard possession order is a visitation schedule which comes from Subchapter F of the Texas Family Code. Click here to view a copy of a standard possession order.

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