Deciphering Child Custody Language

Everyone is familiar with basic child custody language, right? Well, Texas has a funny way of taking familiar concepts and labeling them with unfamiliar terms. For instance, the Texas Family Code doesn’t use the terms custody. Custody might be referring to conservatorship, possession and access, or child support, which is collectively termed the parenting plan.

Conservatorship refers primary to which individuals have which rights and duties over the child(ren). There are different categories of conservators: joint or solo, managing or possessory. Joint or solo refers to whether there are two parties raising the child, or just one (Texas won’t allow for more than two – sorry grandparents). A managing conservator typically has the rights (either exclusively or jointly), to make an array of decisions, including medical, educational, and legal. The possessory conservator typically only has rights necessary to actually see a child. There also isn’t a definition of a “primary” parent, though it is typically meant as the managing conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence. To makes matters more complicated, there are several ways in which these rights and duties can be divided, regardless of what designations each parent has, whether the rights be exclusive, by agreement only, or after consultation, it is important to understand the pitfalls of each choice.

But wait, we haven’t started talking about actual custody yet. In Texas, it is referred to as possession and access, and it is typically dictated by a specific possession order. To learn more about the Texas Standard Possession Order, click over to this blog post HERE.

This is just an introductory analysis of child custody language. When talking about your children, it is crucial that you have complete understanding of what all of these particular terms mean and how they can impact your lives post-litigation. Child custody as not as simple as it sounds in Texas, so it is important that you are getting legal advice from a dedicated family law attorney. To speak with one today, contact us here.