frequently asked questions*

1. What is legal capacity? Legal capacity refers to a party’s legal ability to do a particular thing. For example, in Texas, a minor (a person under 18 years of age) usually does not have legal capacity to make an enforceable contract. Legal capacity can be affected by various circumstances, and relates both to people and to legal entities such as corporations.


2. Do contracts have to be in writing? Some kinds of contracts have to be in writing to be enforceable, but many kinds of oral contracts are also enforceable.


3. Are we married? What is called a “common-law marriage” is recognized in Texas as a valid marriage. Thus, in Texas, you may be married, even if your were not married by a clergyman or a judge. Whether two people have had a common-law marriage may be disputed, and require judicial resolution.


4. What are limitations? The term “limitations” refers to periods of time within which the law requires parties to file suit, or thereafter be prevented from doing so. The law prescribes different periods of limitations for different kinds of claims. There are also various circumstances which the law recognizes as “tolling” or suspending the running of periods of limitations.


5. What are the sources of the law? The sources of Texas state law include: (1) the Texas Constitution; (2) Texas statutes and codes created by the Texas Legislature; (3) rules created by Texas courts; (4) rules created by Texas state agencies; and (5) rules created by Texas cities. In some situations arising in Texas, federal law governs. The sources of federal law include: (1) the U.S. Constitution; (2) statutes and codes created by the U.S. Congress; (3) rules created by federal courts; and (4) rules created by federal agencies.


6. Why do court cases last so long? There are several reasons that cause Texas state court cases to last so long. Those reasons include the following: (1) outside of Bexar County, the local court rules do not allow for different courts to work together on individual cases to arrive at faster resolution; (2) most local rules do not require that the courts address trials and hearings in the same order in which they are filed; (3) usually there are no mandatory deadlines for court action; and (4) the Texas Legislature has chosen not to create and fund additional courts as quickly as the number of filed cases has increased.

*These frequently asked questions and answers: (1) are not a substitute for advice from a lawyer of your own choosing; (2) are not provided as legal advice to readers; (3) should not be relied upon as a substitute, for advice from a lawyer of your own choosing; (4) do not create a client-attorney relationship between a reader and Tummel & Casso; and (5) do not relate to issues governed by federal laws or laws of states other than the State of Texas.