Many people think of marriage in the traditional sense. In other words, they fall in love, there’s a heartfelt proposal, and they get a marriage license. There’s even a beautiful wedding ceremony. But what about couples who’ve been together and lived under the same roof for years? They don’t have a marriage license, nor have they done a formal ceremony. But they consider themselves husband and wife. Are they married in the eyes of the law? The good news is that Texas does recognize what is referred to as common-law marriage.
Common-law marriage, or informal marriage, in Texas is a legal marriage between two people, even though they didn’t go through the traditional formalities.
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.
There are stipulations to common-law marriage
As with most things in life, a couple must meet stipulations for their relationship to be considered a common-law marriage. After all, proving that you are married can be necessary if the relationship were ever to end, 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
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