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What is the Difference Between Sole Managing Conservatorship and Joint Managing Conservatorship With Respect To Child Custody?

There are different legal designations with respect to child custody in Texas that describe the rights and responsibilities of the parents. The presumed, or default, arrangement is joint managing conservatorship. This means both parents share in the important decisions and responsibilities concerning their child, which include the following:

  • Education
  • Religion and moral instruction
  • Medical care, including emergency care
  • Providing for physical and psychological needs

When parents are named joint managing conservators, this does not mean that they will spend equal amounts of time with the child, nor does it mean that neither parent will pay support. The court may still order one parent to pay support to the other. Even under joint managing conservatorship, one parent is often designated the primary managing conservator, and this parent may have primary physical custody of the child and receive support from the other parent.

In certain cases, the court may instead appoint one parent the sole managing conservator. In these cases, one parent has the sole discretion and responsibility around important decisions concerning the child. This is a less common arrangement in Texas, and a parent is only named sole managing conservator if the court finds it would be in the best interests of the child.

Child custody and decisions about which rights and responsibilities each parent will have are emotionally charged and complicated issues. If you are involved in a divorce or custody dispute, contact an experienced Texas child custody attorney.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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