One of the most important considerations in the dissolution of the marriage is who the children will live with and the arrangements for the time they’ll spend with the other parent. Child Custody can be difficult for all involved, so cooperating with one another at this point to create a workable custody and visitation plan will help ensure your children’s stability going forward. A few of the things that you need to know:
Child custody is referred to as “conservatorship” in Texas. The words custody and conservatorship are essentially identical and can be used interchangeably.
There are three general types of conservatorship in Texas:
Custody is typically established at the time of divorce. However, it can be altered later on through a new court order if there is a compelling reason to amend the custody order.
In Texas law, the terms “possession and access” are used in place of visitation. A child is considered to be in a parent’s possession when they are with the child.
When a child is in the parent’s possession, that parent has the right to make certain decisions regarding the child. These include moral and religious training, discipline, and consent to non-invasive healthcare. Additionally, a parent who has possession of the child is required to provide food, clothing, and shelter.
A visitation schedule (also known as an access order) can be made with the input of both parents. The parents can decide together what days each gets to spend with the child. If the court finds that the schedule the parents have created is in the best interest of the child, they will base the access order on this.
However, if the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court may put what is known as a standard possession and access order into place. This order is created for children over the age of three. It will call for every first, third and fifth weekend to be spent with the possessory conservator from 6 pm on Friday to 6 pm on Saturday, as well as every Thursday during the school year from 6 pm to 8 pm. Additional arrangements are made during the summer and for school holidays.
Making an agreement that works for everyone involved allows you to create an environment for your child that is stable and peaceful going forward. By understanding your rights, as well as your responsibilities to one another and your child, you can make the best possible agreement for the good of your child.