Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My girlfriend and I have been living together for six months; do we have a common law marriage?

A: Most likely, no.  In Texas, you cannot have a common law marriage unless you sign a formal declaration of informal marriage and file it with the county in which you live or the following three factors are satisfied:

  1. You have agreed to be married
  2. You live together in Texas
  3. You represent yourself to others as being husband and wife

No matter how long you live together, if you do not satisfy all three of these factors, you will never have a common law marriage.

Q: How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas?

A: After you file the petition for divorce with the court, Texas law imposes a 60-day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized.  The actual time it will take to finalize your divorce will depend on your particular case.  If disputes arise between you and your spouse as to custody and property division, it can take much longer than if you can agree on these issues.  The average divorce in Texas generally takes four to six months. 

Q: How does the court determine child custody?

A: In Texas, the primary concern in making a custody decision is that the arrangement is in the child’s best interest, while taking into account the importance of a child having frequent contact with both parents.  For this reason, Texas courts separate custody into managing conservatorship and possessory conservatorship.  Managing conservators take part in making decisions regarding the child, such as education and medical care, while the possessory conservator is the parent with whom the child actually lives (this is sometimes known as physical custody).  A parent can be named either a sole or managing conservator or possessory conservator; generally, the parent not awarded physical custody will be granted extensive visitation privileges. 

Q: How is property divided in a divorce?

A: Texas is a community property state, meaning that all property acquired during the marriage will generally be split equally; this does not include property one spouse acquired by a gift or through a will or inheritance.  While this might seem clear-cut, disputes often arise as to whether certain property is defined as separate or community.  Mr.  Langford has extensive experience handling complex property division cases and can assist with protecting your property rights through even the most contentious divorce.

Seek Experienced Legal Representation

Whether you are considering a divorce or if your spouse has already filed a petition for dissolution, it is important to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer as soon as possible.  We can help protect your rights, property interests, and relationship with your children.  To schedule an appointment with our office for a consultation regarding your case, contact the Law Office of J. Gary Langford today.

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