Sole Managing Conservatorship

Though courts usually prefer awarding custody or conservatorship to both parents to ensure that a child is able to experience love, care and attention from both parents, the court will refrain from doing so if it finds out that one parent is actually unfit to care for his/her child or, if in the child’s best interest, sole conservatorship or sole custody will be a better choice.

Being judged as an “unfit” parent can be due to a variety of different reasons, including: a health condition that would render such parent incapable of providing the amount of care and attention the child needs; abusive parental behavior (physical and/or verbal abuse); alcohol and/or drug dependence; exposure of child to pornographic elements and/or illegal activities; abandonment of the child; and, use of excessive, unnecessary discipline.

In sole custody or sole managing conservatorship, only one parent is awarded all the rights, powers, privileges, and duties associated with caring for his/her child. For the other parent to have time with the child, he/she is given visitation rights. If one parent is truly unfit, though, then it would the legal duty of the other to inform the court about this matter so as not to compromise his/her child’s well-being. By being unfit, the court may also deny the unfit parent visitation rights or make sure that times of visit are overseen by a professional appointed by the court.

Under Texas statutes, once a parent has been appointed as a conservator, he/she has, at all times, the right:

  • To receive information (from any other conservator of the child) concerning the child’s health, education, and welfare;
  • To confer with the other parent before making a decision concerning the child’s health, education, and welfare;
  • Of access to the child’s medical, dental, psychological, and educational records;
  • To consult with the child’s physician, dentist, or psychologist;
  • To consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities;
  • To attend the child’s school activities;
  • To be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;
  • To consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
  • To manage the estate of the child.

Obviously, a parent will never want to lose his/her influence over his/her child and would do almost anything to spend time with the child. Though a parent may not be awarded custody, he/she should be awarded visitation rights. A highly-competent child custody lawyer may be able to help him/her achieve this, and may even be able to help him/her arrive at an amicable settlement with his/her former spouse for visitation rights that would be longer than if the court were the one to decide over this issue.

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