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Assisting Families Since 1980

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How long do I have to wait before i can be divorced in Texas?

In Texas, there is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days after filing the divorce petition before a divorce can be finalized. This waiting period is designed to give the parties a chance to resolve any issues related to the divorce, such as property division, child custody, and support. However, the actual time it takes to complete a divorce in Texas can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the case, the level of cooperation between the parties, and the court’s schedule. In general, uncontested divorces that do not involve disputes over major issues can be completed more quickly than contested divorces that require extensive litigation.

In Texas, how can i get sole custody of my child?

In Texas, being granted sole custody (referred to as “sole managing conservatorship” in Texas) remains a challenging process. The Texas Family Code (Texas’s governing law controlling family relationships) generally favors joint custody (known as “joint managing conservatorship”).  When parents are joint managing conservators, both parents share in the decision-making regarding the child’s upbringing. 

To obtain sole managing conservatorship, evidence must be provided to the judge that it is in the child’s best interest to have one parent designated as the sole decision-maker. That parent will also have the exclusive right to say where the child primarily lives.   Judges require evidence of some kind of serious problem with the other parent, such as a history of abuse, neglect, or substance abuse.

Here are the steps to get sole managing conservatorship in Texas:

File a Petition: You will need to file a petition with the court requesting sole managing conservatorship. This petition should include specific details about why you are seeking sole custody.

Attend Mediation: Before any court hearing, almost all family law judges will require you and the other parent to attend mediation to try and resolve any custody disputes. This requirement satisfies the Texas legislature’s mandate to promote alternative dispute resolution wherever possible.  Most family law courts have hundreds and many have thousands of cases that require the court’s time to resolve disputes.  If an agreement is reached during mediation, the judge, in almost every case, must approve it.

Attend a Hearing: If mediation fails to resolve the disputes, a hearing will be scheduled. During the hearing, both parents present evidence and make arguments in front of a judge. The judge will then make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the child.

Receive the Court Order: If the judge grants your request for sole managing conservatorship, a court order will be issued outlining the terms of custody and visitation.

Importantly, the process for obtaining sole managing conservatorship can be complicated, expensive, and emotional.  Consulting with and securing the representation of an experienced family law attorney remains the best approach to achieve your goals while protecting your child’s best interests.

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