Talks about What Couples Should Know about Texas Common Law Marriage

Published March 29, 2023

When two people in the United States get married, their union is recognized everywhere in the country. Common law marriage is different. The rules vary by state, and not all of them even allow it. In Texas, common law marriage is recognized by the state, but only if couples meet certain conditions.  A firm, such as Sisemore Law may be able to help.

What Is Common Law Marriage?

A common law marriage occurs when two people agree to be married in the absence of a formal ceremony or official recording of the union, but according to, that's not the only requirement that must be met. Couples must also live together after agreeing to be married and must represent that to others. Aside from those stipulations, couples must follow other Texan marriage laws, which include:

A requirement that both parties be legal adults.

A ban against marriage to multiple people.

A ban against marrying relatives.

How to Make Common Law Marriages Official

For some people, the whole point of common law marriage is that it doesn't require official proceedings. However, others like to have their unions validated, which requires very little work and investment in comparison to traditional weddings. Just head to the county clerk to sign and file a Declaration of Informal Marriage.

How to Get Divorced

Wondering How to Divorce From a Common Law Marriage? In Texas, couples need to go through the same divorce process as the one required to end a traditional marriage. The first step for most people is to contact an attorney who understands not just traditional marriage law but also common law marriages in Texas.

The reason it's a good idea to have a lawyer is that common-law marriages follow the same rules as traditional ones once they're recognized by the state, which means that divorcing couples will be subject to the state's community property laws. In other words, all of the assets and debts accumulated during a marriage are considered shared property and will be divided upon divorce. 

The court will consider the common law marriage to have begun as early as one member of the divorcing couple can prove that they met all three conditions for an informal marriage. Divorcing couples can click to read more about communal property laws and how they apply to common-law marriages.

Resolving Disputes

The most common dispute regarding common law marriage is at what point the informal marriage should have been considered valid. Whether the two parties signed a Declaration of Informal Marriage or not, the state will consider it to have begun when they began living as a married couple. Having a lawyer available to help with compiling evidence is helpful in the event of disputes. 

What to Do If Questions Arise

If couples have questions about the validity of their informal marriages or individuals need information about how to get a divorce, they should speak with a family law attorney. There are unique stipulations that apply to common law marriages in Texas that might not apply in other states, and family law attorneys are experienced in dealing with all of the nuances. From proving common law marriages to helping with divorces, family law, and divorce lawyers can be invaluable resources.

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