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What is a sole managing conservatorship?

A sole managing conservatorship means that only one parent has the legal authority to make decisions regarding the child. This is also sometimes referred to in other states as sole legal custody. If the courts grants a parent a sole managing conservatorship, that parent is also entitled to child support payments in addition to having sole decision-making power.

Some of the decisions the managing conservator is responsible for include consenting to any medical treatments. This includes dental work and any kind of mental health treatments. The managing conservator is also the parent who is listed as the emergency contact for any places that require one, such as schools, daycares or extracurricular activities.

The managing conservator also has the right to decide where the child will live and where and how the child will be educated. This is an important point for noncustodial parents, also called possessory conservators, who object to a child's relocation or method of schooling. While the possessory conservator may be able to fight the issue in the courts, he or she will usually have to show that the managing conservator's decision is harmful to the child.

Today, joint custody arrangements are very common, but a sole managing conservatorship may be needed if there is a history of family violence, neglect, substance abuse or criminal activity in one parent's life. Sole managing conservatorships are also sometimes granted in cases where the parents have a history of being unable to work together on decisions involving the children or a parent has been gone from the child's life for an extended period of time.

Source: Findlaw, "Child Custody in Texas," accessed March 10, 2016

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