When clients come into the Puhl Law Group, LLP seeking assistance for a divorce or a child custody case we often hear the question, “Can I receive sole custody of my child?” Custody in Texas is called “conservatorship.” Conservatorship is used to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. In Texas, a judge may give conservatorship to one or both parents. A judge can grant sole managing conservatorship, joint managing conservatorship or possessory conservatorship. It is not easy to receive sole managing conservatorship. In general, the court wants meaningful relationships with both parents to be established and giving one parent all the cards is ordinarily not a great idea.

What is Sole Managing Conservatorship?

If a parent is granted sole managing conservatorship it means they are the only parent with legal rights to make certain decisions in regards to the child.

What is Joint Managing Conservatorship?

If a parent is granted joint managing conservatorship, the rights and duties are then shared by both parents. In this case, certain decisions like where the child will live may still be granted to one party.

What is Possessory Conservatorship?

The possessory conservator has limited authority to make decisions on behalf of the child. In most cases, one parent is made possessory conservator and the other is sole managing conservator. With that in mind, when people ask about sole custody what they are asking for is sole managing conservatorship. In Texas, this means you are the parent with the exclusive legal right to make most choices for your child. Decisions include the primary place the child will live, medical decisions, both big and small, and educational decisions, including the school the child will attend. These decisions can be made without consultation with or input from the other parent. The easiest way to get sole managing conservatorship is if the other parent agrees to it.  If not, a judge does not simply grant this wish. It must be proven that the other parent has significant issues and they should not be involved in primary decisions for the welfare of the child. Some examples of these issues include the other parent having a history of family violence or neglect. Another set of issues might be a history of drug and alcohol abuse or past criminal activity. Sole managing conservatorship can be granted if the other parent has been absent from the child’s life up to this point or they simply don’t want to be involved in the child’s life. Conservatorship and child custody are some of the most important matters in a divorce case. It is important to get a board-certified family lawyer you can trust like the lawyers of Puhl Law Group, P.C. to help you find the best solution for your family.