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Child Custody in Texas

Familiarize Yourself With Child Custody Laws in the State of Texas


Primarily, Texas child custody laws favor granting both parents access to the child. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Texas should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.

Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with child custody in Texas.

Filing for Child Custody in Texas

Parents can file a custody case in Texas if:

  • The child resides in the state or the child resided in the state 6 months before the custody case

  • The child's parents have a connection with Texas besides physically living there, such as a job

  • Evidence is available in the state concerning the child's care, education, etc.

A parent in Texas who wishes to commence a child custody case should provide the court with the following information:

  • Child's address

  • Place where child has lived for the past 5 years

  • Names and addresses of individuals whom the child has lived with for the past 5 years, along with the names and addresses of those who have claimed physical and/or legal custody of the child for the past 5 years

Modifying Child Custody in Texas

A Texas court can modify a child custody case, if:

  • The court has the power to make an initial child custody determination (see the section above entitled, "Filing a Custody Case in Texas)

  • No other state court has the power to decide the case

  • The court determines that the child's parents do not live in another state

Conservatorship and Child Custody in Texas

Instead of referring to a parent's guardian as a "custodian," a Texas court refers to a child's custodian as a conservator. A court will give one parent sole custody of a child (sole managing conservator) or both parents joint custody (joint managing conservatorship). The court considers the following factors in determining whether one or both parents will serve as a conservator:

  • Best interests of the child

  • History of domestic violence

  • Child's testimony (over the age of 12)

A conservator, in Texas, has the right to:

  • Inquire and participate in the child's health, education, after school activities, etc.

  • Attend school activities

  • Be designated as an emergency contact on the child's school forms

  • Make decisions regarding the child's education, health or legal needs

Texas child custody laws also encourage parents to work together to provide the most stable home for a child. Parents who have questions about child custody in Texas should speak with a Texas attorney or read the Texas Family Court Act.

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