Can I Get Joint Conservatorship in The Divorce?
For most people, the final decision to seek a divorce is not made lightly, nor quickly. On the contrary, it can take months, even years, to reach the point at which a divorce appears to be the only option. This is particularly true when there are minor children involved. In fact, it is the thought of being separated from children that often causes a spouse to hesitate when it comes to asking for a divorce, especially when that spouse is the father. Although we have come a long way from the days when the thought of a father having custody of his children was almost unheard of, it can still be an uphill battle for a father to be awarded sole or joint conservatorship of his children in a divorce. If you are a father, and you find yourself torn between the desire to end an unhappy marriage and the fear of losing your children, the most important question you likely have for a Texas divorce lawyer is “Can I get joint conservatorship of my children in the divorce?”
Divorce, the Law, and Society – Then
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, both the law and society had well-defined roles for men and women when it came to marriage and child-rearing. Men were expected to be the family breadwinners and pay the bills while women were expected to stay home, take care of the house and raise the children. Although divorce was far less common than it is today, couples did divorce sometimes. When they did, both the law and society presumed that the mother would be granted physical custody of the minor children unless she was proven to be an unfit mother.
Divorce, the Law, and Society – Now
Over the last several decades, much has changed, both in the law and in the way society views the role of both parents. Just as it is no longer the husband’s sole responsibility to support the family, it is also no longer the mother’s sole responsibility to raise the children. In fact, the law in most states, including the State of Texas, is quite clear on this issue. The Texas Family Code, Section 153.001 et seq. governs conservatorship and possession and access of minor children, stating in relevant parts as follows:
The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.
The court shall consider the qualifications of the parties without regard to their marital status or to the sex of the party or the child in determining:
(1) which party to appoint as sole managing conservator;
(2) whether to appoint a party as joint managing conservator; and
(3) the terms and conditions of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.
How Does This Impact My Chance of Being Awarded Joint Conservatorship?
The law is very clear when it comes to your rights to your children. Specifically, the law must consider what is in the best interest of the children when deciding issues relating to conservatorship without regard to whether it is the father or mother who is seeking that role. From a practical standpoint, however, the court is often reluctant to award joint physical “custody” because of the logistical problems that often causes. Unless the parents live very close to each other and agree to do so throughout the children’s school age years, and the parents have a very good post-divorce relationship, it can be difficult to implement joint physical possession of the children. On the other hand, the court is much more likely to award you joint managing conservatorship if the facts and circumstances warrant doing so. As a joint managing conservator you would have an equal say in major decisions affecting your children, such as where they go to school, what religion they practice, and what medical treatment they receive.
Because every divorce involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, however, it is always best to consult with a Texas father’s rights divorce attorney to find out exactly where you stand and/or to get answers to specific questions.
Contact a Texas Divorce Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about a divorce in the State of Texas, contact an experienced Texas divorce lawyer at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd to schedule your appointment today.