Conservatorship and Possession are two ideas that are embodied in child custody in Texas. Possession is the term used to describe the time each parent will have to spend with his/her children. Conservatorship is how parents will make major decisions on behalf of their children (i.e. where they attend school).
In most scenarios, Joint Managing Conservatorship or rather joint decision-making is appropriate. This is so even if the children spend more time with one parent. Texas Law presumes that joint decision-making and the sharing of all parental rights and duties is in the best interests of the children. (See Texas Family Code Section 153.131) Though not common, one parent can be appointed Sole Managing Conservator and make all major decisions for the children. If this is so, the other parent will still share possession or visitation of the children.
Divorced or separated parents can agree to any reasonable possession schedule that is in the children’s best interest. This firm works to facilitate creative possession plans that are catered to the needs of each individual family. In many situations, parents opt to follow a standard possession schedule. In this case, the primary possessory parent has possession of the children for most of the time during the school year and the non-primary possessory parent has possession of the children Thursday evenings, the first/third/fifth weekends, a month during the summer and staggered holidays (such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring break) every other year. If extended standard possession is implemented, then the non-primary possessory parent has additional time (often including Thursday and Sunday overnights and more time over the summer) with the children.
The law favors parenting plans that are in the best interest of the children. Embodied in this standard is the understanding that each parent should and will support a positive relationship between his/her child and the other parent. It is in the parents and children’s best interest to negotiate a plan that promotes positive interactions as much as possible.
In Texas, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) collects and distributes all child support money and forwards those funds on to the parent due those funds. Our firm supports child support plan where the parties agree to an order where the OAG collects and distributes funds as it is in both parties interest for a neutral entity to keep an accounting of all funds provided and owed. The amount of child support is often determined by factors such as one parent spending more time caring for the children and the net resources of the non-primary possessory parent. The amount is typically 20% of the non-primary possessory parent’s net income for one child, 25% for two children and so on… The Court or agreed order should also take into account medical insurance premiums paid for by one parent as parents are required to have health insurance coverage for their children under Texas state law. There is often confusion around whether or not child support is linked to visitation. Child support is an independent obligation and duty of the non-primary possessory parent regardless of whether or not that parent is exercising visitation or possession of the children.