Common Law Marriage in Texas
Common law marriage, also known as informal marriage, is a legitimate and legal way for a couple to marry in Texas. Despite common misconception, there is no requirement of living together for five, or seven, or even 1 year. A common law marriage exists in Texas if both parties:
- Agree that they are married;
- Live together as husband and wife; and
- “Hold out” to others that they are married (see Texas Family Code § 2.401(a)(2)).
All three requirements must exist simultaneously to create a valid common law marriage. This also applies to same-sex couples, and couples who have had children together.
How to Represent that You Are Common Law Married
Some ways you could be representing that you are married:
- Filing joint tax returns,
- Taking the same last name,
- Adding someone to the “family” gym membership,
- Referring to the other as husband or wife, and
- Having joint bank accounts.
How to End a Common Law Marriage
If a common law marriage is established, it must be terminated by divorce, annulment, or the death of one of the parties. A common law marriage may impact inheritance rights if the marriage is not terminated.
Contact Us About Common Law Marriage
Before entering a cohabitation relationship, if you have questions about common law marriage or need an experienced attorney to protect your rights, contact us for more information.