Custody and visitation in Texas is called conservatorship, possession and access, and the child custody attorneys Collin County, Texas families can rely on for advice and representation are found in Plano at Scroggins Law Group. Mark L. Scroggins is a Board-Certified* family law attorney with more than 20 years’ experience negotiating and litigating contested child custody cases.
Texas public policy requires the courts assure children have frequent contact with both parents who show they act in the best interests of the child. Parents should provide safe and stable environments where they raise their child while sharing in the rights and duties of raising a child after divorce.
What is the Best Interest of the Child Standard?
Above all else, Texas courts are concerned with the best interest of the child and should always give that primary consideration when determining issues of conservatorship, possession and access to the child. Incidents of domestic violence or sexual abuse are closely scrutinized by the court when it considers appointing a sole or joint managing conservator and whether one or both parents shall be given decision making ability regarding the children.
Texas courts have considered a variety of factors when determining what will be in the best in the best interest of a child, such as the child’s desires, the emotional and physical needs of the child, whether there is any danger to the child, each parent’s abilities, programs available to the child, and generally their well-being and adjustment to life. Upon request, the court must consider the desires of a child age 12 or over regarding conservatorship, and with which parent they wish to live. Note that the court is not bound by the child’s desires, but they must consider them as a factor. There are also special rules the court uses when there is a child less than the age of three regarding possession and access time.
What is a Conservator?
The conservator or conservators are the parties that can make decisions regarding the children such as where the child goes to school, where they live and whether they need an invasive medical procedure. The court may appoint both parties as joint managing conservators or it may appoint one party a sole managing conservator, taking into consideration any history of family violence, child abuse or neglect, or whether a final protective order was issued against any of the parties. With histories of child neglect, physical or sexual abuse, the court recognizes a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of a sole managing conservator is in the best interests of the child.
There are certain general rights each parent conservator normally is awarded, unless limited by the court, including rights to access basic information, to attend school and related events and to consult with the other parent and healthcare professionals seen by the child.
What are the Rights and Duties of Parent Appointed as Conservator?
During periods of possession a parent appointed as a conservator has rights and duties regarding the care, control, protection and reasonable discipline of a child. As well, they have the duty to support the child and provide food, clothing and shelter.
One of the commonly litigated issues in custody cases is which parent shall have the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child. The courts now have the option of having the child’s exclusive residence not be with one parent, but instead be within a certain geographical area. This more recent development has helped to lessen the litigation between parents.
What is a Standard Possession Order?
Once the court makes proper appointments of managing conservators and the rights and duties of each with the respect to the child and their best interests, the parties can make their agreement regarding possession schedules or use the Standard Possession Order found in the Texas Family Code. Child custody attorneys in Collin County TX use a variety of variations of the Standard Possession Order that best applies to the children and the parties and their respective schedules and living situations.
The child custody attorneys Collin County TX trusts at Scroggins Law Group can explain the details of the Standard Possession Order and the variety of options they can use in your custody case. Mark L. Scroggins, board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization or one of his associates can help you. Call Scroggins Law Group in Plano, Texas to schedule a consultation by dialing (469) 626-5220.