"We have three children, ages five through 12. How do we decide whether sole custody or joint custody is best for our family?"
Texas law presumes that all parents will be granted the title of joint managing conservators. The presumption may not apply when issues such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or domestic violence affect the children. Then, one parent will be named the sole managing conservator and the other parent will be named the possessory conservator. The title given does not necessarily affect the other issues pertaining to the children. Regardless of the title, both parents will be awarded certain rights and duties to the children, and both parents will be awarded periods of possession with the children. Typically, with children over three years of age, the Courts will impose the Standard Possession Order under Texas law. One parent will also be ordered to pay child support in most situations.
Michelle May O'Neil, president of O'Neil Attorneys and a Certified Family Law Specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, is nationally recognized as a leader in family law. She focuses on child-custody disputes, complex marital-property litigation, and family-law appeals. May also acts as a mediator for other attorneys in resolving family-law disputes.