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Common Law Marriage in Texas

Contact a Galveston Attorney for Divorce in a Common Law Marriage

According to Texas state laws, if a couple lives together as husband and wife, and acknowledge themselves as such, they may be considered married. Common law marriages may make it easier for couples to receive legal recognition of their union without a ceremony or licenses, but there are a few specifics to keep in mind. If you are considering entering into a common law marriage, remember, it is still a legally binding commitment, in its own right.

I, Attorney Juliann Karenko, have been working in family law for more than 20 years, and I have the experience necessary to help you with any marital or family legal concerns you may have. I have a thorough understanding of Texas state laws, and am dedicated to providing competent and compassionate legal aid for you and your family.

Contact The Karenko Law Firm PLLC for a free case consultation.

How Common Law Marriage is Established

Contrary to popular belief, a couple must do more than live together and think of themselves as married to be considered wedded by Texas law. Three things must occur for a common law marriage to take place. A couple must live together as man and wife, agree to be married, and must “hold themselves out” as married.

To “hold themselves out” as married, a couple must act as a married couple by telling people they are married, filing joint tax returns, applying for credit cards or loans together, and so on. There are many different ways to fulfill this part of the common law, and if necessary, you can use bank statements or personal testimonies to prove it in court.

Keep in mind, a common law marriage will likely be more difficult to prove or establish if you have already lived with another person in the past where it was not considered a common law marriage. Common law marriages do not apply to anyone under the age of 18, whether or not they have parental consent.

Common Law Marriage is Legally Binding

Once a common law marriage is established, it is considered just as lawful as any other marriage with a ceremony or license. Because of this, the couple must honor their legal obligations to one another, particularly if the marriage ends in divorce or separation. Just like any other married couple, there exists a right to request spousal support, and an obligation to divide any shared marital assets in the event of divorce.

Common Law Divorce

A divorce for a couple bound in common law marriage should be handled formally, just as a divorce for any other kind of marriage. In court, you will first need to prove a common law marriage, or informal marriage, occurred. Seeking a formal divorce is particularly important if the couple is unable to agree on the division of assets, spousal support payments, child custody arrangements, child support, or any other major issues. In order to protect your right to half of the shared marital assets, and your parental rights, should you share a child, you should seek a divorce with legally binding contracts.

To learn more about what constitutes a common law marriage, how it can be proven, or how it may be ended, contact me at The Karenko Law Firm PLLC.

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