Custody in El Paso Divorce Cases: A Primer - Page 3

Physical Custody

Physical Custody is much simpler than Legal Custody. It only involves the right to have the child live with you. It also imposes the duty to care for the child.

Texas divorce law has followed the national trend of encouraging both parents to stay involved in the lives of their children after the divorce. That is one reason that Texas divorce law presumes that Joint Managing Conservatorship is in the child's best interest.

Dividing Custody: Joint Managing Conservatorship

A conservator is a divorced parent who has legal custody of a child. You may see the word custodian used interchangeably with conservator.

Joint Managing Conservatorship exists when both parents are made conservators over the child. In other words, both parents have legal custody.

Again, this has nothing to do with possession, access or visitation. However, it is very typical for one conservator to be designated as primary. The primary conservator usually has the following exclusive rights:

  • To designate the child's primary residence
  • To receive child support and medical support

It is very common for the Primary Joint Managing Conservator to have what has traditionally been called "custody" of the child, while the Secondary Joint Managing Conservator gets what has been referred to as "visitation."

It is important to keep in mind, though, that any workable visitation schedule can be arranged between Joint Managing Conservators.

The bottom line on Joint Managing Conservatorship is this:

  • After the divorce, both parents will wind up with the same rights in the children that they had when they were married. However, the other parent's consent may be required before one parent may exercise some of those rights.
  • One parent may (and probably will) be ordered to pay child support and health support.
  • One parent may be appointed as Primary Joint Managing Conservator. However, designation of a Primary Conservator is not required.
  • Some type of geographical restriction may be placed upon the child's residency.

Jim K. Jopling
Attorney at Law
747 East San Antonio, Suite 103
El Paso, Texas 79912

(915) 541-6099

Toll Free Facsimile:
(866) 864-6854