The Texas Family Code provides a list of twenty-seven rights and duties that a person may have to a child. Of those, most child custody disputes focus on only four of these rights:
- The right to establish the primary residence of the child;
- The right to consent to non-emergency medical, dental, psychiatric, psychological and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures;
- The right to make education decisions; and
- The right to receive, or the duty to pay, child support.
Being a parent or guardian is much more than just having possession of a child. These rights and duties will determine how, and by whom, the child will be raised. Some of these rights may be conditioned as “independent” rights, “joint” rights, or rights that only exist after consultation with the other conservator. If you are going through a custody dispute, it is critical that you consider these rights and duties and have a firm understanding of the long term implications of them.