What Do I Have to Prove to Get Sole Managing Conservatorship in Texas?
For a parent, the most frightening aspect of a divorce is usually the impact – both practical and emotional — it will have on the minor children of the marriage. In a perfect world, the parents are able to agree on issues related to custody and visitation (known as “conservatorship” and “possession and access” in Texas). Unfortunately, the world is not perfect. If you are the father of a minor child who is contemplating divorce, you may be wondering what you need to prove to be granted sole managing conservatorship in Texas. A Fort Worth fathers rights attorney offers some insight into the issue of conservatorship.
Times Have Changed
It wasn’t all that long ago that a father seeking sole custody (sole managing conservatorship in Texas) was virtually unheard of in the U.S. Both society and the law, however, have changed considerably in recent years. Today, it is common for fathers to seek joint managing conservatorship over their children and it is no longer unusual for a father to even pursue sole managing conservatorship. This viewpoint is even codified in Section 153.003 of the Texas Family Code as follows:
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:
which party to appoint as sole managing conservator;
whether to appoint a party as joint managing conservator; and
the terms and conditions of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
When the parents of a minor child divorce, the law takes the position that both parents should remain an active part of the child’s life whenever possible and that both parents have a continuing financial obligation to the child. That means that the court begins its deliberation with the presumption that the parents of a minor child should share managing conservatorship of the child. Section 153.151 (b) of the Family Code makes that presumption clear, reading as follows:
It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of the parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child. A finding of a history of family violence involving the parents of a child removes the presumption under this subsection.
If the court is forced to consideration appointing one parent as the sole managing conservator, the court will take a wide range of factors into consideration when making its decision, including:
The physical and emotional needs of the child
Whether any physical and/or emotional danger to the child exists
The stability of a parent’s home
Any specific plans for child
The degree of cooperation between parents
The parenting skills of each parent
Who has been the child’s primary caregiver
The child’s preferences if the child is 12 or older
Geographic proximity of the parties
A desire to keep siblings together
Whether there have been any false reports of child abuse
The fitness of each parent – this includes things such as whether there has been any abuse in the family, whether physical force has been used against the children, whether a parent has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse, and other related inquiries.
If you are pursuing sole managing conservatorship of your child(ren) it is very important that you consult with an experienced fathers rights lawyer early on in the litigation. There are a number of things you should, and shouldn’t, do when you are pursuing sole custody of a child in a divorce. It is easy to make a mistake if you do not have a competent attorney on your side.
Contact a Fort Worth Fathers Rights Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about seeking sole managing conservatorship of your children in a Texas divorce, or any other divorce related questions, contact an experienced Fort Worth father’s rights attorney at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd to schedule your appointment today.