Texas laws on common law marriage

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Evidence Required to Prove a Couple Presented Themselves as a Married Couple It does not matter how many years a couple has lived together or whether or not they have children together. Courts will accept any of the following evidence as proof the couple held themselves out to be married: A rental agreement signed by both parties referring to them as husband and wife. Tax returns, state or federal, that are filed jointly as husband and wife. Any insurance policy that names one of the parties as the beneficiary spouse.

Loan applications in both names referencing them as husband and wife. Testimony of anyone who met or knows the couple that the couple represented themselves as a married couple to other people. The form must include The county of residence. Documentation proving identity and age. Declaration that the parties are not related to each other in any way, including by way of adoption or having been a stepchild or stepparent. A declaration and oath that the parties consider themselves married including the date they began living together and they are neither one married to anyone else.

A certificate from the county clerk that the declaration and oath were made with the date of the declaration. Although the presumption can be rebutted, it is much more difficult to do so after the two-year time limit has expired Contact a Common Law Marriage Divorce Lawyer Call now to schedule an appointment with the Law Offices of Frank E. A valid common law marriage in Texas is where a man and woman become husband and wife without getting a marriage license and having a marriage ceremony.

Once established, a common law marriage has the same legal effect as a ceremonial marriage. Under Texas law , to have a common law marriage, you must do three things:. Simply put, by telling others that they are married. Examples of telling other people you are married include:. In Texas, both spouses must be adults. In other words, no person under the age of 18 can be part of a common law marriage. Common law marriages in Texas have the same legal status as a ceremonial marriage. Why is this important? Getting a divorce is the same as with other marriages, except the couple must first prove to the court that they were married.

The person that first files papers with the court has to prove that there was a common law marriage.

What Makes a Common Law Marriage Valid in Texas?

From my discussions with this man, I was able to pinpoint that if they were married, it had only been for about three years. This was because prior to that time period, he had been married to someone else. In Texas, you can only be married to one person at a time, so it was impossible to be married until after his divorce took place. From questioning, it did not sound like there was much community property.

The majority of his assets would be his separate property. It also sounded like had created a really nice paper trail for a common-law marriage. He had emailed someone that the woman in question was his wife. A while back, I met with a gentleman and he was deeply concerned that his wife may get a portion of the fortune he could acquire after he got a patent and his invention went on the market. From talking to him, I learned his marriage was a common-law marriage. Once I learned he had a common-law marriage, I started to ask him questions. When I went through my usual questions, it started to sound like he might not have a common-law marriage.


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  • I then asked him why he thought he might be married. Through further discussions, the gentleman was hoping I would tell him that a common-law marriage was not as good as a ceremonial one. I let him know a common-law marriage is just as good as a ceremonial marriage. This upset my consult. He did not like hearing that his patent may be community property.

    Everything You Should Know about Common Law Marriages in Texas

    Why would she be entitled to my patent? It is only in my name.

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    When he said that, I knew he was not understanding what I was saying. I decided to try giving him an analogy. I explained to him common-law marriage is like that. My consult concluded that he should never have signed the affidavit of informal marriage. Apparently, his wife had convinced him that it would a good idea for them sign the affidavit. However, he never felt like he had benefited from the affidavit and only she had.

    Under Texas Family Code Section 2.


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    • One thing a Declaration of Informal Marriage allows a couple to do is choose the date of their marriage. In the above consult, the man was extremely frustrated that Texas had laws that recognize the common-law marriage. However, Texas is not the only state. The following states have laws regarding common-law marriage:. An informal or common-law marriage is a marriage between two people who have not obtained a marriage license and participated in a marriage ceremony and under Texas Family Code Section 2.

      This means that in an evidentiary hearing, the spouse alleging a common-law marriage will need to put on evidence that the parties intended to have a present, immediate, and permanent marital relationship wherein they both agreed to be husband and wife. An agreement to get married at some later time in the future is not sufficient to establish an agreement to be married.