Texas Child Custody FAQ

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If you are going through a divorce involving children, you have questions about your child custody arrangements. The stress associated with issues related to child custody and the complicated nature of the matter makes this an especially heated topic. Having answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, however, can help.

Are Custody Laws Different in the State of Texas?

Custody laws in Texas are very similar to most other states, but the state does use different language that you may not be used to. In Texas, custody is called conservatorship, and there are two types. These include the managing conservator and the possessory conservator, and this refers to who makes the important decisions on behalf of the children, including:

  • Decisions regarding their education (Divorce and Your Children’s School)
  • Decisions regarding their religious upbringing
  • Decisions regarding their non-emergency health care
  • Decisions regarding their extracurricular activities.

The managing conservatorship is further broken down into sole managing conservatorship and joint managing conservatorship, but the presumption is that both parents will share joint managing conservatorship (except in extreme situations).

Possessory conservatorship refers to the children’s visitation schedules with each parent. Generally, one parent is named the primary conservator, and he or she has primary custody of the children (and determines where their primary residence is) while the other parent has a visitation schedule. (Learn more: Managing Conservatorship in Texas)

What about Sole Custody?

Many parents have concerns about obtaining sole custody. The State of Texas bases all custody decisions on the best interests of the children, and the vast majority of the time, the children’s best interests are determined to be served by maintaining a relationship with both parents. In Texas, what most parents think of as sole custody refers to primary conservatorship (except in extreme situations). (Read more: What Not to Do if Your Goal Is Primary Custody)

What about Child Support?

Child support in Texas is based on state guidelines, and both parents are legally responsible for helping to support their children. Typically, the obligation of the parent who is the primary conservator (the parent with primary custody) is considered fulfilled because he or she supports the children on a day-to-day basis. As such, the parent with the visitation schedule generally pays child support to the parent with primary custody. (Learn more about creating holiday visitation schedules)

Does My 12-Year-Old Have Any Say in Custody Decisions?

The only magic age that allows a child to make his or her own decisions about whom he or she lives with is 18. If your child is at least 12, however, the judge will honor your request if you ask that he or she interview your child.

Consult with an Experienced Killeen Family Law Attorney about Your Child Custody Concerns Today

If you are facing a divorce, you naturally have serious concerns about child custody issues. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an experienced family law attorney who is committed to helping you obtain child custody arrangements that work for you. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.


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