Rights and Duties

The following are examples of the allocation of rights and duties that are negotiated by the parties:
• the right to designate the primary residence of the child within a designated geographic location;
• the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures;
• the right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the children;
• the right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the children and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the children;
• the right to represent the children in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the children;
• the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States;
• the right to make decisions concerning the children's education;
• except as provided by section 264.0111 of the Texas Family Code, the right to the services and earnings of the children;
• except when a guardian of the children's estates or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the children, the right to act as an agent of the children in relation to the children's estates if the children's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government;
• the duty to manage the estates of the children to the extent the estates have been created by community property or the joint property of the parent.

The rights of the parents/conservators can be exercised in the following ways:
• With joint agreement of both parents; 
• Exclusive right to one parent, with no consultation required of the other parent; 
• Exclusive right to one parent after meaningful consultation with the other parent; 
• Independently by each parent, either with or without consultation with the other parent.

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The Texas Family Code allocates some rights and duties to conservators at all times so that neither parent is without significant connections to the children, such as:

• the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the children; the right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the children;
• the right to consult with school officials concerning the children's welfare and educational status, including school activities;
• the right to attend school activities;
• the right to be designated on the children's records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;
• the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the children.

Access and Possession

The non-primary conservator who resides within 100 miles of the residence of the children can be eligible for one of the following possession schedules.

1. Standard Possession Order – On the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of the month, beginning on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and ending on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.; every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the school year; every Father’s/Mother’s Day weekend; alternating holidays and spring break, and 30 days in the summer.

2. Expanded Standard Possession Order – The weekend possession periods are expanded to the following: On the Thursday preceding the 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday, beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending on Monday at the time school resumes.

3. Creative Possession Orders – Other possession orders are available for fact specific cases, such as for firefighter and police work schedules. Split access and possession schedules are sometimes used, however, these require the agreement of the conservators. Additionally, these schedules often require modification as the children get older.


In custody disputes, the Court has the power to appoint an Amicus Attorney to provide legal services to assist the Court in protecting the child’s best interest and does not provide legal services to the child. The Amicus Attorney is the eyes and ears for the Court on the best interest of the child, and desires of the child if the Amicus Attorney determines that is in the best interest of the child.

Marlene Dancer Adams

~Divorce - Family Law - Mediation~

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The “best interest of the child” is always the paramount consideration for issues of custody/ conservatorship, whether the case is a divorce, a modification or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. Based on the “best interest” test, cases involving custody of children are very fact specific and generally require testimony and records from lay and expert witnesses to assess parenting participation, skills and proper motives.