Navigating the Texas Family Code: Key Statutes on Child Custody

In the realm of family law, navigating the complexities of child custody can be challenging, particularly when it comes to understanding the relevant statutes outlined in the Texas Family Code. In this informative guide, we’ll explore key provisions of the Texas Family Code pertaining to child custody, providing clarity and insight into the legal framework governing custody arrangements in Texas.


The Texas Family Code addresses child custody through the concept of conservatorship, which refers to the legal rights and responsibilities of parents regarding the care, custody, and control of their children. Under Texas law, there are two types of conservatorship: joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship. Joint managing conservatorship typically involves both parents sharing rights and duties related to the child, while sole managing conservatorship grants one parent primary decision-making authority.

Best Interest of the Child

A fundamental principle underlying Texas child custody laws is the best interest of the child standard. Pursuant to Section 153.002 of the Texas Family Code, the court’s primary consideration in determining custody arrangements is the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s preferences (if applicable), and the ability of each parent to provide a safe and nurturing environment are carefully evaluated to ensure decisions align with the child’s best interests.

Parenting Plans

The Texas Family Code encourages divorcing parents to develop parenting plans outlining custody and visitation arrangements that promote the child’s best interests. Section 153.007 of the Texas Family Code provides guidelines for the contents of parenting plans, which may include provisions regarding custody schedules, decision-making authority, communication between parents, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Modification of Custody Orders

In certain circumstances, custody orders may be subject to modification to accommodate changing circumstances or to better serve the child’s best interests. Section 156.101 of the Texas Family Code outlines the grounds and procedures for modifying custody orders, emphasizing the importance of demonstrating a material change in circumstances affecting the child or one of the parents.

Enforcement of Custody Orders

The Texas Family Code provides mechanisms for enforcing custody orders and addressing violations of court-ordered custody arrangements. Section 157.001 outlines various enforcement remedies available to parents, including contempt proceedings, modification of possession or access, and imposition of sanctions for non-compliance with court orders.


Navigating the Texas Family Code’s provisions on child custody requires a thorough understanding of the legal framework and principles governing custody determinations in Texas. By familiarizing yourself with key statutes related to conservatorship, the best interest of the child standard, parenting plans, modification of custody orders, and enforcement mechanisms, you can effectively advocate for your child’s best interests and navigate the complexities of child custody proceedings in Texas family courts.