Once, the standard assumption in a divorce was that the children would live with the mother and the father would get visitation rights. Times have changed, and most judges now favor a joint custody arrangement.
Different states use different terms when talking about custody. Are you familiar with the terminology used here in Texas?
How custody is spoken about here in Texas
Here in Texas, you may hear people talking about conservatorship:
- Managing conservatorship has to do with who makes decisions for the child. Not what color socks they wear, but the bigger issues such as which school they attend, which faith they follow and what medical treatment they receive.
- Possessory conservatorship relates to who the child lives with. Courts can award both managing and possessory conservatorship on a sole or joint basis.
Courts will typically award parents joint managing conservatorship. As for possessory conservatorship, the judge will listen to both your points of view before making a decision. They will ultimately aim to find a solution where you both maintain regular contact with your children.
The child’s best interest is key in child custody decisions
While the judge would prefer both parents are happy with the deal, their priority has to be doing what is in the child’s best interests. If they feel one of you presents a serious threat to your child, they may award sole managing and possessory conservatorship to the other parent.
The problem with judges making calls about your kids’ futures is that they hardly know you or your child. If your co-parent paints a picture of you as someone unfit to parent, the judge may believe it. Therefore, it is crucial that you present your side of the story in custody negotiations so that you can preserve your right to a role in your child’s future.