Sole Custody in Texas
Texas doesn't use the terms "custody" and "visitation." Instead, we use "conservatorship" and "possession of or access to" a child. A person with sole custody of a child would be called a "sole managing conservator" in Texas (as opposed to a "joint managing conservator"). So what rights and duties does a sole managing conservator have?
Of course, the sole managing conservator gets to decide where the child lives. But the sole managing conservator also has the sole right to make important decisions for a child even if the other parent disagrees. These rights and duties include choosing the child's school, medical providers and whether an underage child may enlist in the military. The sole managing conservator also has the right to receive child support from the other parent.
Texas Family Code section 151.001 lists the rights of a parent. They are:
(1) the right to have physical possession, to direct the moral and religious training, and to designate the residence of the child;
(2) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
(3) the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, medical and dental care, and education;
(4) the duty, except when a guardian of the child's estate has been appointed, to manage the estate of the child, including the right as an agent of the child to act in relation to the child's estate if the child's action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government;
(5) except as provided by Section 264.0111, the right to the services and earnings of the child;
(6) the right to consent to the child's marriage, enlistment in the armed forces of the United States, medical and dental care, and psychiatric, psychological, and surgical treatment;
(7) the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child;
(8) the right to receive and give receipt for payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse funds for the benefit of the child;
(9) the right to inherit from and through the child;
(10) the right to make decisions concerning the child's education; and
(11) any other right or duty existing between a parent and child by virtue of law.
Texas Family Code section 153.074 sets out the rights of the parent who has visitation ("possession of") the child:
(1) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
(2) the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;
(3) the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and
(4) the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.