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What is joint custody?

Many residents of Killeen and Fort Hood may have heard the term joint custody and may have even heard family law experts and those who work with children sing its praises as a great way of helping children deal with the fact that their parents do not live together. However, many Texans might not know exactly what this term entails.

In Texas, custody is legally referred to as a conservatorship and the custodian is called a conservator. Many times, people are referring to different concepts when they are speaking about joint custody or, in Texas, a joint conservatorship.

A true joint custody situation would involve the parents having roughly equal time raising and rearing their children. Although this need not mean that each parent gets the children exactly 50 percent of the time, it does require that the parents are able to get along well enough so that the children can spend considerable time in each parent's home.

In other cases, the children may only live with one parent while the other parent gets to see the children every other weekend and at other important times of the year. Still, the parents have joint legal custody because they are equally in charge of making important decisions about the most important facets of their children's lives, such as healthcare, religion and education. Neither parent can act on such important matters without the other parent's consent.

Whether a joint conservatorship, that is, joint custody, is right for a Texas parent depends heavily on the facts and circumstances of their case. As such, it is usually a good idea to go over this option with an experienced family law attorney.

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