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What is court-ordered joint conservatorship in child custody?

When a couple in Texas has children but decides to part ways, there are many different factors that will come to the forefront when it comes to child custody. It can be somewhat confusing, but it is important to have a grasp on the different issues in maintaining a relationship with children. One is if the court orders joint conservatorship. This will happen if there has not been a written agreement regarding child custody filed with the court. The court will then issue an order that will appoint the parents as managing conservators of the child jointly. This will only be done if it is in the best interests of the child.

The following factors will be taken into account when the court decides whether to issue this order: if the needs of the child physically, psychologically or emotionally will be met with joint managing conservators; if the parents are able to prioritize the needs of the child and share the decision-making responsibility with the child's best interests in mind; if the parents are able to accept a positive relationship that the child may have with the other parent; and if both parents have been participants in caring for the child before the suit was filed.

Also important is the geographical location of where the parents are living; what the child's residential preference is if he or she is 12 or older; and any other factors that the court deems as relevant. When there is an order for joint conservatorship, the court will name a conservator who will be granted the right, on an exclusive basis, to make a decision on the child's primary residence. The conservator will also establish a location to maintain the primary residence of the child, or specify that the conservator has the ability to determine the child's primary residence and its location.

The conservator can make clear the rights and duties that the parents will have - together or separately - based on the law. If it is possible, the conservator can make recommendations for alternative dispute resolution techniques before taking legal steps such as modification or enforcement. Parents who do not file a parenting plan need to know that a court-ordered joint conservatorship is a possibility. If a parent in Dallas needs more information about family law issues related to their child, they should get assistance from an attorney experienced in child custody rights.

Source: Texas Family Code, "Sec. 153.134. Court-Ordered Joint Conservatorship.," accessed on March 21, 2016

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