In the Texas Family Code there are presumptions.  Without trying to define the term presumption in a vacuum let’s apply it to family cases. 

For example, it is presumed that parents in a custodial dispute will be named as joint managing conservators.  If a parent wants to be granted sole managing conservatorship then he or she will need to show that the presumption of joint managing conservatorship does not apply. If a parent is found to have committed family violence then the presumption that the offending parent will be a joint managing conservator with the other parent is oftentimes overridden.  Or a parent has shown little interest or involvement in the nurture of a child. That parent could face having the other parent awarded sole managing conservatorship. 

There is a presumption that the marital estate will be divided equally between the two parties. That presumption can be overridden if one of the parties has committed adultery and the court awards the divorce to the other party on the grounds of adultery. Or, if one of the two parties is underemployed or ill.  The court could award a compensatory division in favor of the underemployed or disabled party. 

There is a presumption in favor of awarding what is called “guidelines” child support with the court applying this presumption in its child support award. This presumption can be set aside if the court sees good cause to vary from the guidelines. If one parent has to travel long distances to visit a child then the court may reduce the child support ordered by that parent. 

There is a need to orient a party early in the case about presumptions so that the party avoids false expectations in matters of custody or division of the marital estate.