TOPICS REGARDING CONSERVATORSHIP:
For more current information regarding conservatorship: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/fa/fa015300.html#fa005.153.005
(a) In a suit, the court may appoint a sole managing conservator or may appoint joint managing conservators. If the parents are or will be separated, the court shall appoint at least one managing conservator.
(b) A managing conservator must be a parent, a competent adult, an authorized agency, or a licensed child-placing agency.
(a) If a managing conservator is appointed, the court may appoint one or more possessory conservators.
(b) The court shall specify the rights and duties of a person appointed possessory conservator.
(c) The court shall specify and expressly state in the order the times and conditions for possession of or access to the child, unless a party shows good cause why specific orders would not be in the best interest of the child.
(a) To promote the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties to a suit, the parties may enter into a written agreement containing provisions for conservatorship and possession of the child and for modification of the agreement, including variations from the standard possession order.
(b) If the court finds that the agreement is in the child's best interest, the court shall render an order in accordance with the agreement.
(c) Terms of the agreement contained in the order or incorporated by reference regarding conservatorship or support of or access to a child in an order may be enforced by all remedies available for enforcement of a judgment, including contempt, but are not enforceable as a contract.
(d) If the court finds the agreement is not in the child's best interest, the court may request the parties to submit a revised agreement or the court may render an order for the conservatorship and possession of the child.
If the child is 10 years of age or older, the child may, by writing filed with the court, choose the managing conservator, subject to the approval of the court.
Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the following rights and duties during the period that the parent has possession of the child:
(1) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
(2) the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;
(3) the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;
(4) the right to consent for the child to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
(5) the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.
Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as sole managing conservator of a child has the rights and duties provided by Subchapter B and the following exclusive rights:
(1) the right to establish the primary residence of the child;
(2) the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures, and to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment;
(3) the right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child;
(4) the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;
(5) the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States;
(6) the right to make decisions concerning the child's education;
(7) the right to the services and earnings of the child; and
(8) except when a guardian of the child's estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child's estate if the child's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government.
(a) If a written agreement of the parents is not filed with the court, the court may render an order appointing the parents joint managing conservators only if the appointment is in the best interest of the child, considering the following factors:
(1) whether the physical, psychological, or emotional needs and development of the child will benefit from the appointment of joint managing conservators;
(2) the ability of the parents to give first priority to the welfare of the child and reach shared decisions in the child's best interest;
(3) whether each parent can encourage and accept a positive relationship between the child and the other parent;
(4) whether both parents participated in child rearing before the filing of the suit;
(5) the geographical proximity of the parents' residences;
(6) if the child is 12 years of age or older, the child's preference, if any, regarding the appointment of joint managing conservators; and
(7) any other relevant factor.
(b) In rendering an order appointing joint managing conservators, the court shall:
(1) designate the conservator who has the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child and:
(A) establish, until modified by further order, a geographic area consisting of the county in which the child is to reside and any contiguous county thereto within which the conservator shall maintain the child's primary residence; or
(B) specify that the conservator may determine the child's primary residence without regard to geographic location;
(2) specify the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child's physical care, support, and education;
(3) include provisions to minimize disruption of the child's education, daily routine, and association with friends;
(4) allocate between the parents, independently, jointly, or exclusively, all of the remaining rights and duties of a parent as provided by Chapter 151; and
(5) if feasible, recommend that the parties use an alternative dispute resolution method before requesting enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the joint conservatorship through litigation, except in an emergency.
Joint managing conservatorship does not require the award of equal or nearly equal periods of physical possession of and access to the child to each of the joint conservators.
(a) Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as possessory conservator of a child has the rights and duties provided by Subchapter B and any other right or duty expressly granted to the possessory conservator in the order.
(b) In ordering the terms and conditions for possession of a child by a parent appointed possessory conservator, the court shall be guided by the guidelines in Subchapter E.