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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: 

  1. Agree that they are married; 
  2. Live together as husband and wife; and 
  3. “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. 

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Arpita Legha

Attorney Legha is licensed in the State of Texas and is a member of the State Bar’s Family Law Section. More about Arpita Legha.