In the state of Texas, common law marriage is known as “informal marriage.” Below, we recap Chapter 8 of attorney Michelle May O’Neil’s book, What You Need to Know About Divorce in Texas to help you understand what constitutes common law marriage.
What Is Common Law Marriage?
When a couple agrees to be married and lives together and tells other people they are married without having an actual marriage license or ceremony, they are in an informal marriage. There are no time requirements for a couple to be considered informally married.
The following are the requirements for common law marriage in Texas:
- The couple must agree to be married
- The couple must live together as husband and wife
- The couple must represent themselves as married to other people
All three elements have to be present in order for the marriage to be considered informal. Both people must also have the legal capacity to enter into marriage. Legal capacity means:
- Both parties are at least 18 years old
- The couple cannot be related
- Both parties can’t be married to another person
An informal marriage has the same legal consequences as a ceremonial marriage. This means that the couple must go through a formal divorce if they decide to separate. Just like a regular marriage, all of the couple’s assets, property, and accumulated debts are subject to division by the Court.
If you fit the following criteria, you might be in a common law marriage:
- You file income tax returns with someone named as your spouse
- You have an insurance policy that names the other party as the designated beneficiary
- You own a home with a deed signed by you and the other party as a married couple
- You have loans that identify the other party as your spouse
- You introduce the other party as your spouse to people you meet
- You have agreed to live like a married couple with the other party
Divorce Advocates in Dallas
Are you in a common law marriage and thinking of leaving your spouse? If so, you should visit our office to speak tour attorney and find out how we can assist you. We are committed to helping clients throughout Texas protect their rights and reach fair divorce settlements.
Call (972) 852-8000 to schedule your appointment with our lawyers in Dallas.