Common Law Marriage and Child Custody in Texas
Protect Your Parental Rights After a Divorce
If a common law marriage has been established, Texas law will treat the
couple, legally, just as any other married couple. Because of this, when
a couple married through common law decides to divorce or separate, child
custody is negotiated in much the same way as in any other divorce case.
Should your common law marriage end, you need create a legally binding
child custody to protect yourself and your child. I, Attorney Juliann
Karenko, can help you and your family establish a custody agreement and
deal with any residual legal issues associated with your common law marriage.
For help with your child custody case, contact my firm for a free 20-minute phone consultation.
Why Establish a Custody Agreement?
Failing to establish a formal custody arrangement with your child’s
other parent can result in difficulties over time, effecting both you
and your child. It is in your best interest, and theirs, to establish
a lawful agreement. Without a legally binding contract to designate legal
obligations, your ex-spouse may try to prevent you from seeing your children,
or rearrange the agreement without your consent. A custody arrangement
will help to protect your parental rights and will create a more stable
schedule for your child.
Who Has Parental Rights?
As with most child custody cases, if both parents were living together
as a married couple and raised the child together, they will have equal
parenting rights. In Texas, the courts tend to favor awarding shared custody,
and will do so whenever possible so that the child can benefit from the
presence of both parents. The court will consider other factors, such
as financial stability, emotional support and connection to the child,
who is the child’s primary caretaker, as well as other aspects,
how custody will be shared. If the child has special physical or mental needs,
the court will also factor in who would be best equipped to meet the child’s
In some instances, one parent may receive sole custody if the other parent
is deemed unfit. The courts will always consider the best interest of
the child as a first priority when establishing a custody arrangement
between parents. Although the court will listen to the wishes of each
parent, either could be deemed unfit if there is a record of domestic
violence, incapable financial status, or other issues that may prevent
a person from being a suitable parent. In these situations, the other
parent will likely be awarded sole custody. The other parent would then
be granted partial custody or visitation rights on weekends, school breaks,
As with most family law cases, there are always unique cases, and no two
situations are ever completely alike. If you had a common law marriage
and are now struggling to negotiate child custody arrangements with your
ex-spouse, contact a family law attorney, immediately.
Contact me at The Karenko Law Firm PLLC
to learn more about negotiating child custody after a common law marriage.