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Texas Family Law

Texas Family Law

Texas Family Law: Understanding the Basics and Recent Changes


Family law in Texas primarily deals with legal matters involving familial relationships and issues, such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and property division. Given Texas’ size and diversity, family laws in the state have undergone significant changes, and keeping up with these changes can be a challenge. In this article, we will explore some of the essential aspects of Texas family law and recent changes that have taken place.


To get married in Texas, the law requires that both parties should be at least 18 years old or have the consent of their parents or legal guardians if they are between the ages of 16 and 18. The state does not currently recognize common law marriages, but it does recognize informal marriages, also known as “marriage by habit and repute.” An informal marriage arises when the parties agree to be married and live together as husband and wife in Texas and represent to others that they are married.


In Texas, a divorce, also known as a dissolution of marriage, can be granted on both fault and no-fault grounds. A no-fault divorce occurs when both spouses agree that their marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict that has destroyed the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and that there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. A fault-based divorce involves proving that one spouse caused the breakdown of the marriage by committing actions such as cruelty, adultery, or abandonment.

Child Custody

In Texas, child custody disputes are typically resolved by considering the child’s best interests. The state recognizes different types of child custody arrangements, including sole custody, joint custody, and supervised custody. In most cases, if the parents agree on the custody arrangements, the court will approve the agreement. However, if the parents cannot agree, the court will decide based on several factors, such as the emotional and physical needs of the child, each parent’s ability to care for the child, and the child’s relationship with each parent.

Child Support

Child support is a financial payment made by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to help meet the child’s needs. In most cases, the amount of child support is determined based on the non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children involved. However, in some cases, the court may also consider other factors, such as the child’s unique needs, the custodial parent’s income, and the medical and educational expenses associated with raising the child.

In recent years, Texas has implemented several changes to its child support laws to ensure that payments are fair and consistent across the state. For instance, the state now considers both parents’ income and parenting time, as well as the cost of child care and health insurance when determining child support payments. Additionally, the state has established guidelines to provide more clarity and predictability to child support proceedings.

Property Division

In Texas, property is typically divided into two categories: separate property and community property. Separate property includes property that was owned by one spouse before the marriage or was acquired by one spouse during the marriage through inheritance or gift. Community property includes property that was acquired during the marriage, such as income, real estate, and personal property. During a divorce, the court will divide the community property between the spouses in a manner that is fair and just.

In recent years, Texas has implemented several changes to its property division laws, including new laws related to spousal maintenance. Under the new laws, the court may now order temporary spousal maintenance if the paying spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for an offense that constitutes family violence within the preceding two years of filing the suit. Additionally, the court may also order spousal maintenance for a maximum period of 10 years for long-term marriages.


Texas is one of the most populous and diverse states in the US, which means that its family laws have undergone numerous changes to reflect these complexities. Understanding the essential aspects of Texas family law, such as marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, and property division, is crucial for anyone who wishes to navigate this complex terrain successfully. Moreover, staying up-to-date with the latest changes in family law can help individuals better position themselves when dealing with legal issues related to their families. With proper knowledge and guidance from legal experts, anyone can protect their rights and interests when facing family legal matters in Texas.

Quick Guide to Texas Family Law

What can I find Texas Family Laws?

A detailed and full listing of Texas family law can be found under the official government website of the Texas legislature.  All Texas family laws under state code are updated as of November 2011.

In order to access Family Code section, you can use two methods of searching.  You can perform a quick search and click on the appropriate article under the Chapter you’re looking for, or you can search under the Texas Statutes.

Texas family law mainly addresses divorce procedures, custody issues, and parental rights, but there are many more categories under the Texas Family Code.

Divisions of Texas Family Code

Texas family laws are split up into different subtitles, and these divisions are listed below.  General provisions under Chapter 1 of Texas family law are described in the next section.

Titles under the Texas Family Code

1. Title 1 The Marriage Relationship: this title of Texas family laws provides definitions for marriage, marriages that are presumed valid, the process of for dissolution of marriage, property rights, and more.  There are multiple forms you can locate including petitions, financial affidavits, and more for these laws.

2. Title 2 Child in Relation to the Family: this title mainly describes the parent’s role in raising the child and possible penalties they may face if they interfere with the best interests of the child.

3. Title 3 Juvenile Justice Code: this title provides laws and procedures under Texas family law for proceedings in juvenile court for a child, such as those with a mental illness.

4. Title 4 Protective Orders and Family Violence: this title lists definitions of family violence and procedures for applying for and modifying protective orders.

5. Title 5 Parent-Child Relationship: this title mainly describes the guidelines associated with child support under Texas family law and what to do if child support is not being paid.

For more information on these titles and other Texas family laws, visit the official website of the Texas legislature and look under 1 through 266 of the Family Code.

General Provisions under Title 1: The Marriage Relationship 

This category of Texas family law provides general definitions of the state’s power hold marriage void or acceptable.  For example, Section 1.101 provides that the state has a certain obligation to investigate a marriage and its credibility in order to protect the percentage of parentage and security for the children of the relationship.  Chapter 6 states all marriage that are voidable under Texas family laws.

Section 1.102 of these general provisions provides general definitions for a valid marriage when a spouse has engaged in two or more marriages.  Normally, the most recent marriage is valid and previous marriages are voidable.

Section 1.108 of these provisions under Texas family law states that all agreements must be made in writing in order to qualify as enforceable.  The agreement cannot be an oral agreement, and each party much sign the agreement to establish validity.