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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; 
  1. Live together as husband and wife; and 
  1. “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. 

Arpita Legha

Author 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.

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