What is the Difference Between Child Custody and Conservatorship?

What is the Difference Between Child Custody and Conservatorship?In some states, you may hear the terms “child custody” and “conservatorship” used under very similar circumstances. This is because some states consider their roles to be the same. As a family attorney  from a law firm like the McKinney Law Group can explain, when you want what is best for your child and want to ensure that they are getting the care they need while your family goes through hardships, you and your spouse may be working with a court to determine who gets conservatorship over your children. Family lawyers understand that this can be a difficult time and that, in the end, the thing that matters most is whether your children are well-cared for. 

What are the two types of conservatorship?

You may be wondering what kinds of conservatorship there are and what their roles and responsibilities are in a child’s life. The law typically breaks it down into two types:

  • Managing Conservatorship
  • Possessory Conservatorship

Managing Conservatorship. When trying to understand what this kind of conservatorship is (or what kind of custody the parent has), it is easy to remember it as a parent who gets to manage the affairs of their child. This conservatorship would end once the child is not a minor anymore. A parent in this type of role would make decisions regarding a child’s religion, finances, extra-curricular activities, where the child goes to school, if they need to receive psychological therapy, and what kind of medical and dental care they would receive.

Within the managing conservatorship role, you also have sole and joint managing conservatorship. In a sole managing conservatorship, one of the parents has all of the responsibilities in taking care of the child and making decisions on their behalf. In joint managing conservatorship, both parents will share the responsibility of making these decisions.

Possessory Conservatorship. On the other hand, possessory conservators do not have a say in these kinds of decisions and only get to see their children on a set schedule. While most courts will want to give a parent as much time with their child as possible, if the parent has shown that they cannot be trusted or that they may harm their child in some way, they will limit their access or decide that they can no longer see them.

A court will determine if both parents are fit for managing conservatorship or if one should have more responsibilities than the other. They may determine this based on where both parents live, their relationships with the child, the parent’s job, and even if the child has a preference.

If you need more information on conservatorship laws and child custody, please contact a family lawyer today.