WHAT IS COMMON LAW MARRIAGE IN TEXAS

Texas courts treat a common law marriage the same manner as traditional marriage, given that the spouses are able to prove the marriage is legitimate. Separating common law marriage partners must file for divorce, and follow the same rules for division of property, child custody, and child support as traditionally married couples.

What constitutes common law marriage in Texas?

It is a common misconception that people in a relationship automatically become “common law” spouses after living together for some set number of years. In reality, a couple must prove three elements to establish the existence of a common law marriage in Texas.

  • Both parties agreed to enter into the common law marriage.
  • The couple lives together within the state of Texas as husband and wife.
  • The spouses represent themselves to others as a married couple.

How do I prove common law marriage in Texas?

Most couples have no reason to legally establish their common law marriage unless they are considering divorce. Doing so requires proving all three elements above. The burden of proof typically falls on the partner who wishes to file for divorce.

This is often more difficult than it seems. No matter how long you cohabitated or how many children you raised together, your marriage is not legal unless your former partner agrees that you were married.

Your official date of marriage usually coincides with the date when you and your spouse first met all three of the requirements.

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