Understanding Conservatorship in Texas

Understanding the rights and responsibilities that come with being appointed as a parent conservator is crucial for navigating the complexities of family legal matters. In accordance with Chapter 153 of the Texas Family Code, the term "Parent Conservator" pertains to the rights granted to parents who are appointed as conservators of a child. These rights encompass various aspects of the child's well-being, including decision-making, access to information, and care. However, it's important to note that not all parents may be named as conservators, and the court's decision depends on the specific circumstances. This overview aims to shed light on the key aspects of parent conservatorship, the rights it entails, and how these rights can be modified or limited based on court orders and considerations. If you find this information complex, rest assured that our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the process and help you make the best choices for your unique situation

Conservatorship

Parent conservatorship in Texas grants appointed parents certain rights, such as accessing the child’s records, conferring on decisions about health and education, and attending school activities…

Conservatorship

Parents also need to understand what the term “Parent Conservator” encompasses under Chapter 153 of the Texas Family Code. This portion of the code refers to the rights of parents that are appointed as a conservator of the child. There are situations where it may not be appropriate to name a parent as a conservator and if the court were to make such a finding, these rights would not be extended to that parent.

The court also must determine whether such rights are granted to each parent (1) independently, (2) by joint agreement, or (3) exclusively by one parent. Section 153.073 provides, unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has at all times the right:

  1. to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
  2. to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
  3. of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child;
  4. to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child;
  5. to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities;
  6. to attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips;
  7. to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;
  8. to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
  9. to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent’s family.

Unless otherwise limited by the court, where a parent has been appointed as a parent conservator, the parent will have the following rights and duties while in possession of the child:

  1. the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
  2. the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;
  3. the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and
  4. the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.

This wording is often confusing and may be difficult at first to digest. It is important to speak with an attorney and provide them the facts of your case so they can walk you through what options may be appropriate to ask for from the court.

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Jessica Estorga

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West & West, Greer & Estorga

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