If you are a parent who has recently begun the divorce process, it is important to familiarize yourself with the two types of conservatorship, sometimes known as child custody, available to you in Texas. The two types of conservatorship include joint managing conservatorship (JMC) and sole managing conservatorship (SMC).
Joint managing conservatorship
JMC is the most common conservatorship awarded in Texas because it is generally in the best interest of a child to maintain a relationship with both parents. In this form of custody, both parents legally share the responsibilities of parenting their child. However, the responsibilities and possession, sometimes called visitation rights, may not necessarily be the same for each parent. Some of the rights included in a conservatorship include the right to consent to emergency medical treatment, have access to the child's medical and educational records, and talk to professionals who work with the child.
Sole managing conservatorship
SMC is when one parent legally has the right to make certain decisions for the child, such as where the child's primary home will be and what kind of education or medical care the child will receive. Often this parent will receive child support payments from the other parent who may only be able to see the child during designated visitation times.
Although Texas courts do not favor SMC over JMC, it is awarded when one parent has been out of the child's life or has a history that could be dangerous to the child.
Deciding on conservatorship
If you and your spouse agree on a custody plan, conservatorship can often be awarded more efficiently than if you do not agree. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a plan, a family law judge will determine the terms of a conservatorship based on the best interests of your child.
Whether you and your spouse agree on a conservatorship plan or a judge establishes a plan, it is important to remember that your child's best interests should always be considered as a top priority. Divorce can be a difficult process for you and your spouse, but it also takes its toll on your child.