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What Is Conservatorship?

Generally speaking, conservatorship is “a legal concept whereby a court appoints a person to manage an incapacitated person or minor's financial and personal affairs.” In Texas, the term ‘conservatorship,’ is typically synonymous with child custody. While custody on its own may refer to physical custody, visitation, and parenting time, legal custody has to do with decision-making. Simply put, a possession order decides physical custody, and conservatorship spells out legal custody.

Conservators in Texas

Under Texas law, a conservator is a person with court-ordered custody of a child, and there are 3 types of conservators:

Joint managing conservators are people (usually parents) who share decision-making about issues like education and healthcare. In most joint conservatorship cases, one parent (known as the custodial parent) determines where the child will live, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, parents agree their child will live within a certain school zone or county.

A sole managing conservator has the exclusive right to make most decisions about a child. Judges usually grant sole conservatorship due to family violence, child abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, or absence.

Possessory conservators are parents who have parental rights to visitation without having input in most decisions. One parent typically becomes a possessory conservator when another is named a sole managing conservator, or both parents become possessory conservators when their child lives with a grandparent or another trusted friend or family member.

Courts decide conservatorship during divorce cases, suits affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR), paternity cases, or while issuing protective orders.

Why Seek Conservatorship?

Conservatorship gives you many rights and responsibilities when it comes to your child. If you have conservatorship, you can:

  • Direct your child’s moral and religious training.
  • Consent to medical, psychiatric, psychological, dental, and surgical treatments on your child’s behalf.
  • Authorize immunizations.
  • Access your child’s medical records.
  • Receive child support payments.
  • Permit your child to work or seek employment.
  • Manage your child’s earnings.
  • Give your child consent to marry or join the armed forces.
  • Represent your child in legal matters.
  • Decide where your child lives and goes to school.
  • Enroll your child in school, day-care, or extracurricular activities.
  • Help your child get a driver’s license.
  • And more.

If you want to be involved in these events, processes, and decisions within your child’s life, you may want to seek joint managing conservatorship (if you can co-parent with your ex) or sole managing conservatorship (if there is a problem that prevents you from doing so).

Keep in mind that the court will always act in your child’s best interest, and most conservatorships involve joint managing conservators.

Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can help you protect your legal rights and make the best decision for you and your family.

For experienced and creative representation in your conservatorship case, please call us at (713) 234-6260 or contact us online today.