Child Custody: It Helps to Know the Terminology
Your children’s welfare and wellbeing are naturally your number one priority if you are going through a divorce. Texas uses somewhat different terminology when it comes to child custody, and these unknown terms can strike fear in parents who are just becoming acquainted with them. Get to know Texas terminology, and you will be better prepared to move forward with your divorce confidently. If you are facing a divorce, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Central Texas family law attorney.
Custody vs. Conservatorship
Everyone has heard the term “joint custody,” and if you are the parent with whom your children will primarily live after divorce, the idea of joint or “equal” custody may frighten you. The Texas Family Code does not use the term “custody” but is instead concerned with “conservatorship.” Conservatorship is simply a legalistic way to identify you as a person who has parental rights over your children. While it is not a word that evokes the warm, loving feelings associated with parenting, it is nevertheless the word invoked by the Texas Family Code. Learning to become comfortable with the term conservatorship can help make the divorce process less daunting.
Two Kinds of Conservatorship
In Texas, there are only two types of conservatorship, and they include joint managing conservatorship (JMC) and sole managing conservatorship (SMC). While these terms sound very clinical and confusing, they are quite straightforward once you become familiar with them. Joint managing conservatorship can basically replace the term joint custody, with which you are no doubt more familiar. Sole managing conservatorship closely aligns with sole custody. If you consider the terms in this context, it can make things more comfortable for you.
How It Affects You and Your Children’s Lives
As long as it is in the best interest of the children, the courts are predisposed to award joint managing conservatorship. This does not, however, mean that your children will go back and forth between both of your homes equally. One of you will be the custodial parent, and the other will be the noncustodial parent. If you are the custodial parent, it means that your children’s primary home is your home and that their other parent – in most cases – will pay child support.
Joint Managing Conservatorship
If you are going through a divorce involving children, do not let the term joint managing conservatorship or JMC throw you. Work closely with your experienced Central Texas family law attorney, who will help ensure that you and your children’s rights are well protected.