This page details the two main types of Child Custody under the Texas courts. If you or someone you know is looking for a San Antonio family lawyer, please call with any questions or to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation in person.
With any child custody battle in San Antonio or Bexar County, the Court must decide which type of conservatorship it determines to be in the best interest of the children.
There are two basic types of conservatorships: The first, and preferred designation is a Joint Managing Conservatorship, while the second (and more extreme) alternative is a Sole Managing Conservatorship/Possessory Conservatorship.
Joint Managing Conservators
If the Court appoints the separating parents as Joint Managing Conservators, it will allocate certain rights and responsibilities between the parents in a manner that usually results in the sharing of virtually equal rights with regard to decisions dealing with the children’s health, education, upbringing and general welfare. In many of the cases I handle in San Antonio, the only difference between the rights of the two parents in a Joint Managing Conservatorship is the fact that one parent will be designated as the “primary” Joint Managing Conservator, meaning that this parent has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the children. Sometimes, the judge will restrict the children’s residence to a particular geographic area to facilitate frequent and systematic contact with both parents. Regardless, the parent who is not appointed “primary” will typically have visitation rights set forth in the Court’s order.
The Texas Legislature has adopted a Standard Possession Order that serves as a default possession and access schedule for parents who cannot otherwise agree on how and when to share possession and access of the children. The Standard Possession Order generally provides that the non-primary parent may possess the children on every first, third and fifth weekend of each month, every Wednesday for two hours, every summer for 30 days (if the parents live within 100 miles of each other) or every summer for 42 days (if the parents live more than 100 miles apart), every other Christmas and Thanksgiving holiday, every other spring break, the child’s birthday for two hours, and every Mother’s Day or Father’s Day weekend. Factors that can affect or limit a parent’s custody or visitation rights include: drug/alcohol abuse by the parent, the parent’s criminal background, a history of mental, physical and/or sexual abuse by the parent, reckless lifestyle of the parent, living conditions where the children will stay and the parent’s ability to provide for the child financially. If none of these, or any other extreme factors are found to be present, the Courts here in San Antonio will typically grant primary custody to one parent, while awarding visitation to the other parent pursuant to the Standard Possession Order outline by statute.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
The more extreme alternative to a Joint Managing Conservatorship is a Sole Managing conservatorship. In Bexar County or any Texas county, this involves the appointment of one parent as the Sole Managing Conservator (the party having custody) and the other parent as the Possessory Conservator (the party having visitation). Although the Court will still delegate respective rights and duties to each parent, a Sole Managing Conservatorship typically means that the Sole Managing Conservator will be responsible for making virtually all the decisions regarding the children’s physical and mental health, education, religious and moral upbringing to the exclusion of the Possessory Conservator. In other words, the Possessory Conservator may be virtually eliminated from having the right to make any of these important decisions pertinent to the raising and guiding of the children. Sometimes, in a Sole Managing Conservatorship, the Possessory Conservator is delegated little or no visitation rights as well.
Understandably San Antonio Courts are quite reluctant to appoint one parent as the Sole Managing Conservator over the other except in extreme situations, because doing so eliminates many, if not all, of the rights of the Possessory Conservator. Moreover, Texas legislative policy strongly favors Joint Managing Conservatorships. Indeed, Courts are required by statute to appoint the parties as Joint Managing Conservators with shared rights and duties unless it is found that doing so would negatively affect the children’s physical health or emotional development.
Choosing a Child Custody Attorney
The experience, dedication and knowledge level of your attorney can make all the difference when it comes to navigating the tricky, and sometimes costly, waters of a custody battle. If you find yourself in the midst of such a dispute, contact Sralla Law Offices, where the protection of parents’ rights and the preservation of the children’s best interests are always Job 1. I am a dedicated, experienced child custody attorney in San Antonio, TX who has a proven ability to achieve top-notch results for my clients.
Kevin “Buck” Sralla
Welcome, I am Kevin “Buck” Sralla, an experienced family law attorney in San Antonio, TX. I am licensed to practice in Texas state courts and skilled at advocating for my clients’ rights whether the setting be in a courtroom before a judge or jury or an informal mediation or settlement negotiation process.