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Sole Managing Conservatorship: Overcoming Presumptions of Joint

As the U.S. Supreme Court held in its Troxel decision, there exists a presumption that fit parents act in the best interest of their children:  That belief extends—as referenced under the JMC tab—to a legislatively created presumption that both parents should be named joint managing conservators of their children, unless appointing one of the parents a joint managing conservator is not in their child’s best interest.  Therefore, by implication, a parent that is not named a managing conservator is stained with the stigma that his or her role as a managing conservator is not in their child’s best interest.

Among other matters, a conservator's history of domestic violence, criminal activity, illegal drug use, drug addiction, alcoholism, course of neglectful conduct, mental health, and/or inability to cooperate with the other conservator(s) may be considered by the trial court in determining whether one conservator shall be appointed the sole managing conservator.  If the court appoints a sole managing conservator, the presumption is that the other conservators will be appointed possessory conservators; however, the court is not bound to appoint the other parent anything and can still subject that parent to pay support for the child.