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What is common law marriage in Texas?

 

Texas couples with informal marriages may petition to divorce the same way they would had the marriage been traditionally formalized with a ceremony and completed marriage license submitted to the Dallas County Clerk. In the petition for divorce a valid marriage must be alleged along with grounds for the divorce. This is another reason many couples register their informal marriage to prove its validity in divorce.

What is common law marriage in Texas?

An informal marriage, also called a common law marriage is a valid marriage in Texas that comes with the same rights and duties as formal marriage with a traditional ceremony and registration with the county clerk. The formation of an informal marriage is relatively simple, and so is protecting yourself from being in that common law marriage if you do not want anything more than to cohabit with a significant other or a roommate.

How is a common law marriage formed in Texas?

Contrary to myths, there is not a specific amount of time a couple need to live with one another as married to be in an informal marriage. The following are the requirements to form a common law marriage in Texas:

· Agree to be married;

· Live together as husband and wife; and

· Represent to others that they are married.

Signing an application for credit, a residential lease, and other similar forms as husband and wife can be used to validate an informal marriage. Identifying as married spouses on social media can also be proof of a legitimate common law marriage.

If you live with a significant other and avoid being recognized as common law married, you can sign a cohabitation agreement and take other affirmative steps to document the nature of your living situation so as not to live together and represent to others that you are in an informal marriage.

Declaration and registration of informal marriage

To protect rights as a spouse in an informal marriage you can submit documentation to declare and register an informal marriage in Dallas County. Many common law married couples take this extra step in proving their marriage to preserve inheritance rights. When an information marriage is registered and documented it can save a spouse from proving the validity of the common law marriage after the loss of their spouse.

How can you get a divorce from a common law spouse?

Texas couples with informal marriages may petition to divorce the same way they would had the marriage been traditionally formalized with a ceremony and completed marriage license submitted to the Dallas County Clerk. In the petition for divorce a valid marriage must be alleged along with grounds for the divorce. This is another reason many couples register their informal marriage to prove its validity in divorce.

About Scroggins Family Law: Dallas, Collin and Denton County Board Certified divorce and family law attorney Mark Scroggins, and the team at Scroggins Family Law represent clients in a variety of divorce and family law matters.

At Scroggins Family Law, we have more than 20 years of experience with family law cases in Dallas, Denton and Collin Counties. When you retain our firm, you can trust that your case is in the hands of a highly skilled, dedicated professional. We understand the unique challenges of a high value divorce case, and more importantly, have the knowledge and experience you need on your side. Call us today, (214) 469-3100, to learn more about Texas divorce and family law.

Considering divorce? Get started today with an initial consultation.


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