In Texas, sole custody really does not exist unless your co-parent has passed away or has their parental rights terminated. The concept of “assigning” a child to one parent or the other is a bit outdated. In fact, some states use a system that allocates parental responsibilities, and the concept of “taking custody” is gone. So, let’s use the current and correct terminology to ask your question: How can I be the parent who provides my child’s primary residence?
The answer will vary from case to case, and the best Sugar Land child custody attorney from Jamie Jordan, PLLC can advise you of your options in your specific circumstances such as many parents in Sugar Land, Fort Bend, and nearby.
Is It Sole Custody or Sole Managing Conservatorship?
The term “custody” is not used by Texas courts anymore. Instead, the courts use the term “conservatorship.” The court acknowledges “managing conservators” and “possessory conservators.” There are two types of “managing conservators:” sole and joint.
A “sole managing conservator” is the parent who is awarded what was formerly known as “sole custody.” In other words, a sole managing conservator can make decisions about the child’s upbringing without consulting with the other parent. Texas law provides these rights to a sole managing conservator:
- The ability to choose the minor’s schools, elective classes, which colleges they apply to, etc. (education decisions)
- The ability to consent to medical procedures or psychiatric treatments that may be risky, elective, or invasive
- The ability to establish the minor’s residence in any desired location (in or out of Texas)
- The ability to speak on the minor’s behalf in a legal proceeding or make decisions impacting his or her legal rights
- The ability to receive public benefits on the minor’s behalf or to manage the minor’s earnings
- The ability to give sole permission for the minor to marry or enlist in the military under the age of 18
What Is a “Joint Managing Conservator”?
This is like the old concept of “joint custody.” A joint managing conservator shares the responsibilities and rights of raising the child with a fellow joint managing conservator (a co-parent). If this is the arrangement you and your ex settle on (it is the most popular one), the above duties may be handled jointly, exclusively, or independently.
Terminating the Other Parent’s Rights
Having said all that, if your co-parent is willing to voluntarily terminate his or her rights to the child, that is one way in which you might be granted the role of the sole managing conservator. Perhaps the other parent is incarcerated for life. Perhaps the other parent has decided to move home to his or her native country on the other side of the planet in which they are never even awake when the child is. Perhaps the other parent is an active member of the Mexican drug cartel and finds it safer for the child not to be associated with them in any way. You can always ask your ex to voluntarily give up their parental rights.
3 Main Ways To Ask Court For Sole Managing:
If your co-parent is unwilling to voluntarily terminate their rights to the child, the main ways to ask the court for sole managing conservatorship are:
- Abandonment: Proving that your ex has completely abandoned the child (for example, the other parent moved out of the area, started a new family, and has had no contact with your child for several years).
- Abuse: Showing that your ex was abusive with the child (for example, hospital records and police reports of beatings, rapes, and testimony proving name-calling, yelling, and insults).
- Addictions: Demonstrating that your ex is a well-known alcoholic or drug addict—or both (for example, records of your ex’s numerous stays in various rehab programs, DUI or possession charges, and testimony proving ongoing intoxication, inability to maintain sobriety, etc.).
A Trusted Child Custody Lawyer Near you.
If you feel sole custody is in your child’s best interests. Our best Sugar Land child custody lawyer from Jamie Jordan, PLLC can help, with over 10 years of experience assisting families in Sugar Land and nearby. Reach out to us today!