Possessory Conservator refers to the parent who has visitation. Frequently, it is the father that is designated as the possessory conservator. This designation is done in a possession and access order. This order is usually the result of divorce or separation.

In addition, the possessory conservator is a term that is unique to Texas Family Law.  Texas uses the term conservator, which basically means rights and duties.    In other states, they may use the term guardianship but in Texas, these terms are not interchangeable.

So what does possess conservatorship provided to the non-custodial parent? It conserves the rights and duties which, basically means the right to make various decisions regarding the child, such as those related to educational and medical decisions. The rights and duties of the possessory conservator are limited. Those rights and duties do not often involve unilateral decision-making for the child. It does allow for things such as religious educational decision making when the child is with the non-custodial parent.

Possessory Conservator refers to the parent who has visitation

Conservatorship

The Managing Conservator, or Sole Managing Conservator (SMC), is the parent who has the right to manage those rights and duties. In short, the Managing Conservator has the right to make the decisions for the child such as where the child lives and goes to school.

The Managing Conservator, or Sole Managing Conservator, is the parent who has the right to manage those rights and duties. In short, the Managing Conservator has the right to make the decisions for the child.

Parenting Time

A child typically lives with the Managing Conservator and visits the Possessory Conservator.  Many people find this language confusing and discriminatory.  Rather, at Fathers for Equal Rights, we refer to the time a child spends with the parent as the parents’ Parenting Time.

When a parent has possession and access to a child (using legal terms), then we say it is the parent’s Parenting Time.  This also helps to convey the message that a parent is responsible for parenting a child The child is not simply visiting with their parent. We believe that each parent is provided time to parent their child when the child is with them.

Conservatorship

Fathers for Equal Rights is opposed to the terms, Possessory Conservator and Managing Conservator. It presents as one parent has all the power and the other parent is subservient to that parent.  This causes contempt, anger, and hostility between the parents rather than fostering a healthy co-parenting relationship. 

Fathers for Equal Rights identifies the rights and duties to be exercised by each parent. It can be as simple as that. This helps to facilitate more equality between the parents and to foster a healthier co-parenting relationship – for the ultimate benefit of the children.

This article is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice.  Please contact Fathers for Equal Rights and consult with an attorney there or elsewhere for legal advice.

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