Child custody laws in Texas is legally referred to as conservatorship. The parent is the custodian of the child (a minor), so the parent is named conservator through Texas family courts. What other states refer to as custody and visitation, or parental responsibilities, are the various aspects of conservatorship in Texas.
As with custody, conservatorship has two main forms:
- sole conservatorship
- joint conservatorship
As the terminology implies, the first refers to an arrangement in which one custodian (parent) has sole conservatorship (custody) over their child, including legal and physical custody. The second refers to a joint parenting approach, where both parents take equal or shared responsibility for their child.
Like legal custody, conservatorship gives a parent the following rights:
- To make legal, medical, and religious decisions
- To access psychological and educational records
- To give consent for medical treatments
- To inquire about a child’s activities and progress at school
The above list is not all-inclusive, there are more rights as well. In joint conservatorship, parents raise the child together but may split the decision-making process. One parent retains the rights to decide certain matters alone.