Parental Rights, Duties and Conservatorships
Family Law Attorney Houston
During a divorce action one of the pivotal questions that is a major concern to parents, judges and family law attorneys is how to minimize the impact on the children involved. However, there is a balance between protecting parental rights and determining what is best for the children. In Texas, the court will look at both factors when approving any type of agreement or divorce decree that stipulates the duties of a parent and the care of the children will be allocated amongst all interested parties.
A Houston Divorce Lawyer Helping Clients Understand Parental Rights, Duties and Conservatorships
At The Alsandor Law Firm, we believe at looking at every factor and approach when helping parents assert or protect their parental rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Houston office to discuss your situation with our Family Law Attorney and see how we can be of assistance to you.
Our Experience Can Help You Find Creative Solutions
Our compassionate attorney, Cheryl Alsandor is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, as well as a former elementary school teacher. She understands the unique needs of children facing difficult family legal disputes. She is also conscious of how to help parents protect their parental rights in conjunction with meeting the best interests of the children throughout the process.
Factors Determining Parental Rights, Duties and Abilities
We will help you evaluate which abilities, parental rights and duties should be allocated to each parent and how to present this information to the court. This may include arguments that sometimes one or both parents should not be given child custody or decision making ability, normally granted under the family law code, because of any of the following factors:
- Drug abuse
- Psychological problems
- Relationship between parent and child
- Past instances of child abuse
- Evidence of child neglect
Parenting ability can drastically change depending on these circumstances as well as many other situations. As a divorce lawyer we can help you negotiate or argue to the court why one parent may be more suited to have what Texas calls conservatorship, or rights and duties, for all educational or health decisions based on your relationship or experience with the child. We also have experience helping non-parents petition the court for parental rights, including stepparents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
Additionally, often there are disputes concerning where the child’s primary residence should be. This is often closely linked with who has the majority of the parental duties and has been assigned conservatorship. We will help you provide the court with solid support for your plan proving who can provide a more stable environment for the children, including the ability to properly discipline, provide enough space for the children to thrive, financial stability, which includes structured activities.
We will also evaluate the parental history, quality and duration of the relationship to the children and your future goals for fostering a healthy, nurturing relationship between you and your child. If any of these factors change after the agreement has been approved, we are always available to our clients to help determine if a modification is necessary and we immediately take action when needed.
Conservatorship vs. Guardianship Under Texas Law
Guardianship and conservatorship are two concepts that many find confusing. Texas uses different lingo than most other states to describe the relationship between a parent and a child. Conservatorship is the legal term under the law grants each parent specific rights or access to the child. Guardianship is a vastly different legal concept.
What Rights Does Conservatorship Grant?
Conservatorship grants a parent very specific rights under Texas Law. These include the rights to:
- Gather information on the child’s education, healthcare information, and other information concerning the child’s welfare;
- Access medical, dental, psychological, or educational reports on the child;
- Talk to a dentist, doctor, or psychologist concerning the child’s health or welfare;
- Discuss the child’s situation with educators;
- And make medical or health decisions on behalf of the child.
In addition, conservatorship grants a parent access or possession of a child.
What Is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a very different concept under Texas law, although there are some similarities. In some cases, the court will decide that the conservators (i.e., the parents) should have certain decisions taken out of their control. The court appoints a guardian to manage the child’s affairs.
Guardianship comes into play when the court deems both of the parents unfit to act in the best interests of the child. Or they may be incapacitated or unwilling to take on the responsibility of raising the child. Legal incapacity requires that a parent:
- Be unable to care for their own day-to-day needs;
- And be unable to care for their personal health or manage their financial affairs.
If an individual is a minor under Texas law and both of the parents have had their custodianship rights revoked, the court must appoint a guardian.
Guardianship vs. Conservatorship
The law that applies when it comes to custody deals with conservatorship. When the court deems neither parent to be a good fit for the children, the courts will revoke both parents’ legal rights to access or possess the child. This includes the right to make decisions on the child’s behalf.
What Rights Does Guardianship Grant?
Guardianship grants another individual decision-making power over another person. This person can either be an adult or a child. Many of the same rights that are granted by conservatorship are granted to guardians.
Generally speaking, the court will only take this step when it can determine that neither parent is either a healthy influence on the child or has the ability to take care of the child. The court can come to this determination for a number of reasons. These include the following. The child’s parents:
- Are serving time for criminal activity;
- Have psychiatric conditions that prevent them from managing the children’s affairs;
- Have physical conditions that prevent them from managing the child’s affairs;
- Suffer from drug abuse problems;
- Have shown a history of neglect or abuse.
Oftentimes, the court grants guardianship to a member of the child’s family. This can include aunts and uncles or grandparents.
Fighting for Your Parental Rights During a Divorce
Texas courts generally assume that is in the best interest of the child that both parents take an active role in their lives. Even when the children live primarily with one parent, the other parent still has a conservatorship role in their life.
Sometimes, however, your former spouse or the courts will take action to limit one or both parent’s roles in their children’s lives. In that case, you must prove to the court that you are capable of supporting both yourself and your children. You must also prove that you are capable of providing them with a nurturing home environment. When you can do this, the court may decide that you should be vested with conservatorship rights again.
Talk to a Houston Family Law Attorney
If you are in a battle with your spouse over custody or the courts are considering the possibility that neither you nor your spouse should access to your children, contact the family law attorneys at the Alsandor Law Firm for a consultation. We may be able to help you prove otherwise.
Contact The Alsandor Law Firm for a consultation with a family law attorney serving clients throughout the Greater Houston, Texas area.