Words are important in the law. That may be one reason why in the state of Texas, when discussion is held around some issues, the terms might seem a little foreign to some.
In the context of family law, determining parent roles in the lives of children is perhaps one of the areas where this is most obvious. Child custody is the term that most people may be familiar with in the U.S. or even in other countries. But in Texas, the term that is applied is conservatorship.
Parents trying to work out arrangements regarding how they are going to deal with their responsibilities to their offspring may talk about custody among themselves or with their attorneys, but when the time comes to get things finalized by the court, details will be described in terms of conservatorships.
Regardless of the terms used, however, the one thing that is most important for parents to remember is that there is one significant common denominator. That is, the court will always be looking to make decisions that it feels are in the best interest of the child.
The other thing that is often true is that regardless of whether the parents are married or not, both likely share the hope that their children will be kept safe, be successful and be happy. And to the extent that the parents can contribute to those things, the courts will aim to see that the terms of conservatorship (custody) are properly aligned.
Such decisions are not issued arbitrarily from the bench. Such action usually only takes place if the parents are unable to agree on a conservatorship plan on their own. But agreement is crucial, and to be sure that a parent's rights and desires are duly represented, it's best to work with an experienced attorney.
Source: FindLaw, "Child Custody in Texas," accessed Aug. 7, 2015