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When can a parent gain sole custody in Texas?

Following a divorce or non-marital split in Texas, courts generally prefer to award joint custody between parents. This is known as "joint managing conservatorship." This arrangement allows both parents a share in the responsibilities and rights over their child, although the division of duties may not be completely equal.

In certain cases, however, one parent may be awarded sole custody, referred to as "sole managing conservatorship." Because the presumption is toward joint managing conservatorship, a parent seeking sole managing conservatorship must prove that it is necessary.

What rights does a sole managing conservatorship grant to a parent?

A parent holding a sole managing conservatorship has the legal authority to make a number of decisions on behalf of his or her child without the approval of the other parent. For example, the parent with a sole managing conservatorship may make decisions regarding medical care, education and residence. In addition, the parent holding a sole managing conservatorship will have the right to receive child support from the other parent.

When is a parent granted a sole managing conservatorship?

The easiest way a parent gets sole managing conservatorship is if the other parent agrees to it. Without the other parent's consent, the parent seeking a sole managing conservatorship will need to demonstrate one or more factors that demonstrate that a joint situation is not in the best interests of their child.

These factors include showing that the other parent has:

  • A history of substance abuse
  • Abandoned their child
  • A criminal record
  • A history of domestic violence

Additionally, a significant conflict between the parents regarding basic parenting values, such as religion or education, can be a factor.

Protect your child by hiring a lawyer

Child custody and conservatorship matters are far too important to leave to chance. If you are facing a custody dispute in Texas, contact a skilled family law attorney at Nix|Poet.

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