Custodial Parent under Texas Law

The term custodial parent is usually used to reference the parent which has primary custody or is the primary caregiver of a child. In Texas law, the term custodial is not used, but rather the legal term conservatorship is more often used.

In a divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship a court may appoint either joint managing conservator is or a sole managing conservator.

If the biological parents of the child are separated or will be separated for some other reason such as after a divorce the court must appoint at least one managing conservator which must be a parent, a competent adult, authorized agency or licensed child placing agency.

In most cases a court will appoint one of the child's parents as managing conservator unless that parent has a history of family violence, or the court finds that the appointment of the parent would not be in the best interest of the child because such appointment might significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional development. This parent then becomes the child's primary caregiver and is known as the custodial parent.

When a court makes a determination as to whom they will appoint sole managing conservatorship a court must consider the qualifications of the parties without regard to their marital status or to the sex of the party or the child.

If a parent is appointed sole managing conservator they have the exclusive right to establish the child's primary residence,the right to consent to medical, dental or surgical procedures, the right to consent to psychiatric or psychological evaluation, the right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child including the right to hold or disperse these payments for the child's benefit, the right to represent the child in legal action, the right to consent to marriage and/or enlistment in the Armed Forces, the right to make decisions concerning the child's education, right to the child's earnings, and the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child's estate unless a court has appointed a guardian or attorney ad litem.

Custodial Parent (Family) in Texas Law

Education Code


pertaining to transitional military child, local education agency, local tuition

Family Code


pertaining to nonresident child, confidentiality of records and privileged communications, full adversary hearing, hearing and child not in possession of governmental entity, warning to parents, service plan, status, permanency hearing, child abuse program evaluation committee

Insurance Code


pertaining to enrollment, continuation or conversion of coverage, procedure for claims

Penal Code


pertaining to interference with child custody

Property Code


pertaining to care of custodial property

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