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Types of Conservatorships in Texas 

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fort worth divorce lawyerIn Texas, a conservatorship is a legal term to describe the management of a child’s life and the decision-making process for the child’s well-being. When a couple with children divorces, they must determine how major decisions about the child’s life will be made. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court makes a decision for them. 

There are three primary forms of conservatorship in Texas, joint managing conservatorship, sole managing conservatorship, and possessory conservatorship. Today, we will discuss what is most important about all three. During this transition in your and your family’s life, a family law attorney can be invaluable as you navigate child custody and work to preserve your child’s best interests.

Joint Managing Conservatorship (JMC)

Commonly referred to as simply JMC, this is Texas’s most common type of conservatorship. It is a legal arrangement where both parents share the decision-making process for the child’s life. In a joint managing conservatorship, both parents share the right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, medical care, and other essential aspects of their life. In most JMC arrangements, one parent holds the right to choose where the child lives. This parent is referred to as the “custodial parent.” The child generally will live with the custodial parent. The parent who the child does not live with is called the “non-custodial” parent. In some JMC scenarios, neither parent has the absolute right to choose where the child lives. Instead, the child must live in a specific geographic area, such as a particular school district or county. 

Sole Managing Conservatorship (SMC)

It is widely believed that involving both parents in their life is in a child’s best interests, such as in a JMC arrangement. Sometimes, however, when there is a valid reason to do so, one parent may be named the sole managing conservator, or SMC, which means they exclusively possess the right to make decisions regarding the child’s life. In some situations, the SMC may be a nonparent. A judge will grant an SMC arrangement only in certain situations, including when there is a:

•       History of family violence by the other parent

•       History of child abuse or neglect by the other parent

•       History of substance abuse by the other parent

•       History of the other parent being absent in the child’s life

Possessory Conservator

When a parent or nonparent is named SMC, the other parent or nonparent who does not possess sole custody is called the possessory conservator. In cases where a nonparent has been named SMC, the child’s parents will generally be named possessory conservators. Please note that a possessory conservator still holds a parent’s rights but will not have the final say in most decisions. 

Contact a Fort Worth, TX Family Attorney

We can help you with legal concerns related to conservatorship, custody, divorce, and more. Feel free to contact our experienced Dallas, TX family lawyers with Clark Law Group for a consultation. Call 469-906-2266 today.


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