Conservatorship, Possession and Access (Custody)

Time with our children and control in their lives as minors is something most of us define as ‘custody’, however the Texas Family Code uses the terms conservatorship, possession and access.

Conservatorship deals with a parent’s involvement in the decisions affecting their child, such as educational, medical, and religious decisions, as well as, their primary residence and legal rights. There are essentially two types of court ordered conservatorships in Texas, joint managing conservators and sole/possessory managing conservators.  For the most part, joint managing conservators share in the decision making in their children’s lives, whereas sole/possessor conservatorships are more likely to involve one parent with sole or independent decision making power and the other parent with little to no independent decision making power.

Possession and access more directly governs which parents will have physical custody of their child at any given time. The Texas Family Code has laid out a ‘Standard Possession Schedule’ that, will control a parent’s possession and access to children when such a decision is left for the court to decide.  Working with an attorney to develop a unique possession schedule that accommodates both parents work schedules, availability and preferences, can greatly reduce future legal battles.  Parent’s whose possession schedule is not customized often face these types of battles down the road.

As any parent knows, issues involving our children are serious, personal, and can be highly contentious. Absent extraordinary circumstances, no matter what conservatorship, possession and access order you have, nothing will exactly replicate life with your child prior to a divorce.  For parents dealing with separation, including those outside of marriage, representation by a dedicated attorney who personally holds the sanctity of family and children paramount can be instrumental in maximizing a parent’s time and involvement in their child’s life.