Do I Have Joint or Sole Custody? What Does that Mean?
Joint Custody = Parents share rights and duties with respect to the children. In this instance, both parents made decisions about medical, educational and other issues. Typically, one parent will have the right to designate the residence of the child; this person is referred to as the “primary” parent.
Sole Custody = One parent has the rights and duties with respect to the children. This parent is responsible for decisions about medical, educational and other issues.
What is Conservatorship?
Conservatorship is the word Texas uses for what we think of as custody. So when we say joint or sole conservatorship, that means joint or sole custody.
Are Custody, Conservatorship and Possession the Same?
No. Custody and conservatorship are often used interchangeably in conversation, but possession is a different thing. Possession is the time allotted for each parent to spend with a child. The list of the times each parents have allotted is outlined in what is called a possession schedule.
A possession schedule is usually a Standard Possession Schedule or an Expanded Standard Possession Schedule. These schedules are located in the statute. However, the parents can agree on something that works better and create their own schedule. In addition, the court may choose to impose a schedule it deems in the best interest of the child.
Co-Parenting and Custody
Most custody orders include language allowing some leeway for the parents by inserting a sentence that states, “or as the parties agree.” Texas judges encourage parents to work with and accommodate one another as much as possible.
Because of this, the courts tend to view those who attempt to co-parent favorably. If one party is trying to cooperate and the other party is difficult, believe me, the judges will notice. If the parties cannot agree, the default is to follow the schedule in the order.
If your current order is not working well, there are some options for making changes. But, there are specific requirements for modifying (changing) an existing order. Until an order is actually modified, it is very important to follow it. This means that you exercise your possession and allow the other party to exercise possession. This also means that if you are supposed to consult the other party on decisions, that you consult the other party on decisions.
Enforcement and Contempt
All too often, we have folks come into our office when they are in violation of their current order and subject to enforcement. Or there has already been an enforcement filed. Court orders are court orders and are meant to be followed. You may not know this, but some orders are not only enforceable, but you could be subject to contempt and jail time if you do not comply.
Don’t take matters into your own hands. Don’t violate your orders. If your orders aren’t working for we will let you know your options. If the other party is not complying with the order, we will let you know your options.
Call our office today to get more information on your child custody issues. You need a family law expert on your side.