In many states the legal term “conservatorship” refers to the court assignment of a person to oversee the affairs of an incapacitated person. Examples are an elderly person with dementia or someone physically disabled due to an accident. However, in a Texas divorce, the word “conservatorship” has a different meaning and refers to child custody.
Conservatorship under Texas Law
You and your spouse typically will be the custodians or conservators of your children after divorce. Texas law presumes that in the absence of domestic violence, parents are appointed Joint Managing Conservators, but the rights and duties of each conservator may vary case to case.
Here are guidelines that define how conservatorship works:
Usually the right to establish the primary physical residence of the children and the right to receive child support go to the same person.
The right to establish the primary physical residence of the children may be subject to a geographic restriction or, rather than awarding that right to either parent, the court can designate the county which will serve as the children’s county of residence.
Other parental rights can be exercised exclusively by one parent, jointly by both parents (requiring joint agreement before consent may be given), or independently by each parent.
Does joint conservatorship mean parents spend equal time with the children?
No. Remember, conservatorship has NOTHING to do with possession and access.
The appointment of Joint Managing Conservators does not mean an equal apportionment of time between the conservators (i.e., not week on/week off possession). It means a sharing of the rights of a parent.
If the Court is presented with evidence that there is a history of domestic violence, the presumption for Joint Conservatorship is rebutted, and the parties are appointed Sole Managing Conservator and Possessory Conservator. The Sole Managing Conservator establishes the residence of the child, and the Possessory Conservator exercises visitation.
At C.E. Borman & Associates, we realize you’re going to encounter a lot of legal terms that may not make sense to you. We’re glad to answer any questions you have and help you understand what you need to know about the divorce process or child custody.