If you and your spouse are settling a divorce case in the state of Texas, having filed your petition for divorce under the “no fault” ground may help lessen the emotional burden; however, once the process comes to that part where you and your spouse need to settle divorce-related issues, which may include child custody, among others, then it is more likely that the process will be more emotional and contested unless you and your spouse find a way to settle all issues in friendlier ways.
If, however, despite the court’s encouragement, you and your spouse fail to come to an agreement, then expect that the courts will do all things possible to make sure that the child, especially if he/she is a minor, will be spared from any form of trauma. The courts will also have to make the decision on who shall have custody or conservatorship of the child.
Assuming, however, that the spouses/parents are able to arrive at an amicable settlement and are able to draw up an agreement that contains provisions for conservatorship, then the court may recognize such agreement but only if it finds that agreement to be in the child’s best interest. The spouses may then file their written agreement with the court which, in turn, may decide to render an order wherein both spouses are appointed as joint managing conservators.
Texas courts reserve the right to decide over issues relating to child conservatorship or custody. If it deems necessary, instead of joint conservatorship, it may decide for sole conservatorship, wherein custody is awarded to only one of the parents. This means that the child will reside with the appointed custodial parent with that parent having the exclusive right to make decisions about the child’s growth and development.
According to Kirker Davis, as much as possible, Texas courts still prefer joint conservatorship arrangements to allow the child to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents. Under a joint custody arrangement, both parents share the decision-making responsibilities for their child.