Though there is a presumption of joint physical custody of children after a divorce in Texas, there are certain ways to overcome this presumption so that only one parent has physical custody of the children.
Known as conservatorship in Texas, the concept is the same as how many understand child custody-in a joint managing conservatorship, both parents have rights and duties allocated towards the children and in a sole managing conservatorship, one parent has the right to make important decisions about the child’s welfare in most aspects. Where one parent is the sole managing conservator, the other parent becomes the possessory conservator, which allows them visitation with the child.
As mentioned above, there is a presumption towards joint managing conservatorships because courts assume it is in the best interests of the child to have unrestricted access to both parents for significant amounts of time. However, as per Title 5 of the Family Code, there are certain situations in which the court is not to give one parent access to the children. This is if there is a history of domestic violence or abuse or if it is shown by a preponderance of evidence that there is history of committing family violence in the last two years, the person engaged in behavior that was a criminal offense as defined in various sections, or there is drug or alcohol abuse.
Even though many find joint managing conservatorships work for them, others who fear for the safety and well0being of their children in the presence of the other parent might not find the option viable. It may be beneficial to consult an experienced family law attorney for guidance on how to avail the various options available to them.