The State of Texas refers to child custody as “conservatorship.” While parents are ideally supposed to be named joint managing conservators, in some scenarios, one parent may be named the sole managing conservator while the other parent is named the possessory conservator.
Both the sole managing conservator and possessory conservator enjoy parental rights, but the sole managing conservator has many exclusive rights regarding care for the child. Child custody or conservatorship decisions may be ordered as part of a divorce, Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), paternity, or family violence protective order case.
Our experienced child custody lawyers in Houston will work to protect your rights and help you achieve the most desirable possible outcome to your situation. You can have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (832) 530-4070 to set up a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Child Custody / Conservatorship in Texas
- Types of Child Custody Cases in Texas
- Texas Child Custody Laws
- Harris County Child Custody Resources
Types of Child Custody Cases in Texas
The Gonzalez Law Group assists clients with various child custody issues. Some of the most common kinds of cases we regularly handle include:
- Sole Custody/Conservatorship
- Joint Custody/Conservatorship
- Emergency Custody Petition
- Custody Modifications
Texas Child Child Custody / Conservatorship Laws
Texas Family Code establishes that except in cases of temporary emergency jurisdiction, a court in Texas has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if:
- Texas is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state;
- A court of another state does not have jurisdiction under Subdivision (1), or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state is the more appropriate forum under Texas Family Code § 152.207 or Texas Family Code § 152.208, and:
- The child and the child’s parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with Texas other than mere physical presence; and
- substantial evidence is available in this state concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships;
- all courts having jurisdiction under Subdivision (1) or (2) have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this state is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under Texas Family Code § 152.207 or Texas Family Code § 152.208; or
- No court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in Subdivision (1), (2), or (3).
In Texas, the best interest of the child is always the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child. Texas Family Code identifies the following factors to be considered by the court and the department in determining whether the child’s parents are willing and able to provide the child with a safe environment:
- The child’s age and physical and mental vulnerabilities;
- The frequency and nature of out-of-home placements;
- The magnitude, frequency, and circumstances of the harm to the child;
- Whether the child has been the victim of repeated harm after the initial report and intervention by the department;
- Whether the child is fearful of living in or returning to the child’s home;
- The results of psychiatric, psychological, or developmental evaluations of the child, the child’s parents, other family members, or others who have access to the child’s home;
- Whether there is a history of abusive or assaultive conduct by the child’s family or others who have access to the child’s home;
- Whether there is a history of substance abuse by the child’s family or others who have access to the child’s home;
- Whether the perpetrator of the harm to the child is identified;
- The willingness and ability of the child’s family to seek out, accept, and complete counseling services and to cooperate with and facilitate an appropriate agency’s close supervision;
- The willingness and ability of the child’s family to effect positive environmental and personal changes within a reasonable period of time;
- Whether the child’s family demonstrates adequate parenting skills, including providing the child and other children under the family’s care with:
- Minimally adequate health and nutritional care;
- Care, nurturance, and appropriate discipline consistent with the child’s physical and psychological development;
- Guidance and supervision consistent with the child’s safety;
- A safe physical home environment;
- Protection from repeated exposure to violence even though the violence may not be directed at the child; and
- An understanding of the child’s needs and capabilities; and
- Whether an adequate social support system consisting of an extended family and friends is available to the child.
Harris County Child Custody / Conservatorship Resources
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act — View the full text of Chapter 152, Subtitle B, Title 5 of the Texas Family Code. General provisions include the effect of child custody determination, notice to persons outside the state, and communication between courts. Additional subchapters cover jurisdiction and enforcement.
Child Custody & Visitation | TexasLawHelp.org — TexasLawHelp.org identifies itself as a website dedicated to providing free, reliable legal information to low-income Texans. Visit this section of the TexasLawHelp website to find various toolkits and articles about child custody and visitation issues. Toolkits include forms, instructions, frequently asked questions, and related articles, while articles provide basic information about certain topics and some include forms.
Contact Child Custody / Conservatorship Lawyers in Houston, TX
Do you need help with any kind of child custody issue in Southeast Texas? You will want to contact The Gonzalez Law Group as soon as possible. Our Houston child custody attorneys represent individuals in communities throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown, and many others. Call (832) 530-4070 or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.