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The Law Office of Bethel T. Zehaie
Criminal Defense And Family Law In Arlington, Texas

What Is Conservatorship? What Does It Have To Do With My Children?

In Texas, if you are involved in a suit involving your children, you will hear the term "conservatorship." "Conservatorship," which is often referred to as "child custody," is the legal term describing the responsibilities and legal rights of parents. The law also prescribes certain rights and duties that come along with being a conservator of child.

If divorcing parents cannot agree to the terms of conservatorship, possession and access and child support among other issues, the family court will decide what they feel is in the best interest of the children. If parents can agree to the terms, the court will issue approval of their written agreement.

There are a few types of conservatorships: joint managing conservatorship ("JMC"), possessory conservatorship, sole managing conservatorship ("SMC"). In a JMC, both parents share the rights and duties to care for their child. They have equal responsibilities for providing food, shelter, clothing, education, health benefits and nurturing for their child. If someone is appointed SMC they will generally possess more rights than the other conservator. Possessory conservatorship usually just refers to possession and access to the child.

Each parent usually has the right to obtain full disclosure to the child's medical records as well as their dental, psychological and educational files. Additionally, both parents would have authority to speak with the child's school, doctors and other health care professionals. On the other hand, when the court issues an SMC, it means the court has determined it is in the child's best interest for only one parent to have the right to make important decisions for the child, and to receive child support from the other parent.

Even if both parents are JMCs, it does not automatically mean both parents will have equal possession and access to their child. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, the court will establish a visitation schedule for the parents and designate where the child will primarily reside.

Attorney Bethel T. Zehaie is well-versed in putting the best interest of the child first in family disputes and divorce. She can help with establishing, modifying or enforcing orders for conservatorship, possession and access rights and child support orders.

The family court considers many factors in making decisions regarding conservatorship and possession and access to the children. If you and your spouse cannot agree to a parenting plan, it can be a complex and time-consuming process without an experienced lawyer.

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Call The Law Office of Bethel T. Zehaie in Arlington at 817-803-3502, or email us to schedule a consultation to discuss your family law needs.

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