Texas laws on child custody make it very clear that when dealing with a child custody dispute, courts are primarily concerned with the best interests of the child. The laws are equally as clear in the belief that maintaining the relationship between the child and both parents should be the goal of child custody orders handed down by courts in the state.
Instead of using traditional terminology to describe one parent as having custody of a child while the other is granted visitation, Texas laws refer to the rights and responsibilities of a parent toward a child as conservatorship. Parents are referred to as custodians of the child.
When a child custody dispute arises, parents in Austin are encouraged to reach an agreement regarding parenting time. The agreement should encourage and foster each parent’s participation in the lives of the children. If parents are unable to come to an agreement, then the courts will decide either joint managing conservatorship or sole managing conservatorship.
Unless it is not in the best interest of the child to do so, courts will grant joint managing conservatorship in which decision making is shared by both parents. Joint managing conservatorship does not, necessarily, mean that the parents will share equal time with the child.
Whether the court grants joint managing conservatorship or sole managing conservatorship, in which only one of the parents has decision-making authority, it must also grant a standard possession order. This order spells out the visitation schedule under which each parent will have access to the child.
Child custody represents a complex area of the law. A knowledgeable and skilled family law firm is probably your best source for legal advice and guidance.