Is There Such a Thing as Common Law Marriage in Texas?
There are nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, that fully recognize a common law marriage. Texas is one of those nine states. In each of those states there are certain requirements for a marriage to be considered valid. Once those requirements are met, then a common law marriage has the same impact on a couple as one that actually received a marriage certificate and had a full wedding ceremony. This also means that even if you are common law married, you may still be required to go through a divorce if you and your partner break up.
What Makes Texas Common Law Marriage Valid?
Texas laws refer to common law marriage as informal marriage and recognizes it even if there has not actually been a declaration of marriage as long as the following criteria are met:
- Both parties are at least 18 years of age.
- Neither party is currently married to someone else.
- The parties lived together in Texas after the agreement was made.
- They represent themselves as a married couple to the public.
- The couple created an agreement, either in writing or orally, to get married someday.
Does a Couple Have to File a Divorce After Being Common Law Married?
If the marriage is valid through common law and they then decide to separate, they will need to get divorce through a family court. The court will decide how property will be divided, how child support and custody will be handled, as well as other issues just as the court would have for a couple that obtained a marriage certificate to get married. If there is not a valid common law marriage involved, then the court will not have jurisdiction to settle these matters.
An experienced family law attorney that is familiar with common law marriage and divorce can help you achieve the results that you desire if you are required to go to court. Even if you were never actually married, the process of divorce is still real and very official. You will want to ensure that you have the representation that you need in order to prove that you were a couple and legally married according to Texas law. The court will accept the following evidence as proof that you and your significant other represented yourselves as married:
- A rental agreement signed by both parties that refer to you as husband and wife.
- Tax returns filed jointly as husband and wife.
- An insurance policy that names one of you as the beneficiary spouse.
- Loan applications referring to you as husband and wife.
- Testimony from someone who knows you that will say you represented yourselves as a married couple to other people.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today
If you believe that you and your spouse are common law married and have questions or are facing a divorce, the Houston family attorneys at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. can help. We have years of experience helping our clients through all areas related to marriage, child custody and more. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.