This article provides an overview of the differences between joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship for child custody under Texas law.
Conservatorship refers to a court ordered relationship between a child and a competent adult. Usually that adult is a parent but that is not always the case.
There are several different types of conservators:
- Managing Conservator
- Possessory Conservator
- Sole Managing Conservator
- Joint Managing Conservators
A managing conservator is someone a court grants decision making rights to for a child. You can read more about the rights and duties of a conservator here.
A managing conservator includes both a sole managing conservator as well as a joint managing conservator.
A possessory conservator is a grants a right of possession and access to a child without decision making rights. The possessory conservator still has certain duties during his or her period of possession.
A managing conservator has these rights of possession and access as well.
When a court only appoints one managing conservator, we call that person a sole managing conservator.
When a court appoints two or more managing conservators, we call those people joint managing conservators. There is no law that restricts a child to having only two conservators.
Standards For Determining Conservatorship
Any decision a court makes concerning children is always made with the best interests of the child at the forefront.
Texas law creates certain presumptions that impact how a court decides issues of conservatorship.
Under Texas law there is a presumption that a fit parent is entitled to managing conservatorship of his or her child. Texas law also presumes that the appointment of the parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interests of the child.
Because of those presumptions, Texas law requires a court to appoint a parent or both parents managing conservators of a child. The only exception is if the court finds that the appointment would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.
These presumptions make it very difficult for grandparents or other family members to seek conservatorship.
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