Couples who’ve been together for years, live under the same roof, and consider themselves “husband and wife” — even though they don’t have a marriage license — have often entered into what is known as a common-law marriage. Texas recognizes this informal union, which is a great thing for couples who don’t want to go through the traditional formalities but still wish to be considered married in the eyes of the law. But what happens if they split up? Does being common-law married mean you don’t have to get a traditional divorce?
The quick answer is this: While Texas recognizes common-law marriage and doesn’t force couples to get married in the traditional sense, they still need to formally get divorced if they choose at any point to dissolve the union legally.
This would require them to go through the divorce process like anyone else. This is the only way to ensure that your interests are protected and to avoid problems down the road.
More About Common-Law Marriage
Common-law marriage in Texas is a legal marriage between two people who didn’t get married in the traditional sense of the word. There are a variety of reasons why someone might choose common-law marriage. For example, perhaps they don’t see a reason to spend the time and money necessary to do a full-blown wedding ceremony. Or, they did research and realized Texas offers common-law married couples many of the same benefits as legally married couples — property division rights, inheritance rights, spousal maintenance, etc. — provided they can prove an informal marriage exists.
Proving you are married can be necessary if the relationship were ever to end in divorce, and one or both parties want to seek benefit from many of the same rights that traditionally married couples have. To prove you are common-law married, you must show:
- You and your partner agreed to be married;
- You’ve been living together in Texas as spouses; and
- You both represented to others that you are married.
How To End a Common-Law Marriage in Texas
As previously stated, the divorce process doesn’t change, regardless of whether you were married traditionally or have entered into a common-law marriage. The only difference is that common-law couples must also prove the above stipulations to benefit from Texas’ community property laws.
Please call Christman Daniell Attorneys, for your legal needs today!
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