3 Types of Custody

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3 Types of Custody

Are you engaged in a custody battle in San Antonio, Texas? Understanding the different types of custody is essential in these circumstances. When you know what types of custody are available in Texas, you’ll more thoroughly understand your legal options and what they can mean for your family’s future.

What Are the 3 Types of Custody in Texas?

When a court issues a custody order in Texas, the technical legal term for custody is “conservatorship.” Per Texas law, when a parent has a conservatorship over a child, they have such rights and duties as the following:

  • Caring, controlling, protecting, providing for, and reasonably disciplining a child
  • Making decisions about a child’s medical and dental care (except when medical care may involve an invasive procedure)
  • Making decisions about a child’s religious and moral education, training, upbringing, etc.

Parents can share these rights when they share custody. The following three types of custody or conservatorship exist in Texas:

  • Joint managing conservatorship – This arrangement allows both parents to retain certain rights and duties. Courts often prioritize such arrangements when parents can reasonably work together to raise a child despite no longer being married or otherwise romantically connected.
  • Sole managing conservatorship – There may be circumstances in which it’s best for one parent to have sole custody or conservatorship over a child. Texas law outlines in greater detail the duties and responsibilities of a parent with a sole managing conservatorship.
  • Possessory conservatorship – Texas law grants someone with a possessory conservatorship certain limited parental rights. Typically, a possessory conservator has what other states might refer to as “visitation rights,” meaning they can spend time with a child but cannot play an active role in making decisions about their upbringing. An individual court order may further specify the rights of a possessory conservator.

The court will account for various factors when deciding what type of arrangement is ideal. The court’s goal is always to prioritize the child’s best interests.

The court may account for a child’s preferences if there is reason to believe a child is mature enough to make decisions about custody. However, a child’s preference is rarely the sole deciding factor in these matters. A court usually won’t account for the preference of a child younger than 12.

What is Primary Physical Custody?

Primary physical custody is a term some other states use when referring to who a child resides with. A parent has primary physical custody of a child in another state when the child spends most of their time with them. However, the other parent may have equal rights regarding decisions about a child’s upbringing.

Such an arrangement may be an element of a joint conservatorship order in Texas. Although both parents may participate in raising a child, it’s usually best if one parent decides the geographic area in which the child should reside. This ensures minimal disruption to a child’s routine and lifestyle.

How to File for Sole Custody in Texas

3 Types of CustodyThe process of fighting for sole custody (or, in this case, sole managing conservatorship) of a child in Texas involves filing a “Petition in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)” form. When filing the form, specify your intention of seeking sole managing conservatorship.

You’ll need to convince the court that such an arrangement is best for your child. Reasons the court may consider such an arrangement include:

  • The other parent has been violent towards the child in the past.
  • There’s reason to believe the other parent may act violently towards a child, even if they haven’t done so before (perhaps because they’ve committed family violence against someone else).
  • The other parent has neglected the child.
  • The other parent abuses alcohol or drugs.
  • The other parent doesn’t play an active role in the child’s life.

You may have to prove certain allegations about your child’s other parent when requesting sole managing conservatorship rights. You will also have to show you have a strong relationship with your child and are equipped to serve their needs. Evidence that may help you make your case could include:

  • Testimony from friends, family members, neighbors, and other witnesses
  • Photos and videos documenting your relationship with your child
  • Social media posts documenting your relationship

Many types of evidence are admissible in these cases. Gather as much as you can.

Contact a San Antonio Child Custody Lawyer

Fighting for custody of your children doesn’t have to be as stressful as you assume. You’ll enjoy greater peace of mind during this process if you have representation from a qualified attorney.

At Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P., we thoroughly understand how important these matters are to you and your children. A San Antonio child custody lawyer with our Texas family law firm will help you fight for a custody arrangement that’s fair to everyone. Get started today by contacting us online to schedule your initial consultation or reaching out to us at (210) 349-9933.

Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. 12000 Huebner Rd #200 San Antonio, TX 78230 Telephone: (210) 349-9933 Fax: (210) 349-9988
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