Common Law Marriage FAQ

Do you need to consult with Texas family law attorneys to determine if you meet the requirements of a Texas common law marriage? The experienced Texas family law attorneys at our firm are familiar with unique Texas laws. We will attempt to answer some of the most common questions people seem to have about common law marriage; however, if your question is not answered please " ASK KATHY."

  • What is a "common law" marriage?
    A small minority of states allow the creation of marriage by common law. Texas is such a state. A common law marriage is one in which there is no ceremony or marriage license. The parties must be capable of contracting and be of the opposite gender. A common law marriage requires an actual agreement by the two people to act as husband and wife. This agreement may be by words or conduct. In addition there must also be a holding out of the marital status. This means the parties must represent themselves to others as married to each other, such as using the same name, calling each other husband or wife, opening joint accounts or contracting joint debt, filing a joint tax return, etc.
  • If people choose to live together instead of getting married, should they have a contract?
    Choosing to have or not have a contract is between those two people. If a legal contract is entered into, it is enforceable in the courts of most states. It is preferable to have the contract written instead of verbal because a written contract is easier for the courts to enforce than a verbal contract. Deciding who pays what bills is an issue where a contract is sometimes used.
    Contracts can be evidence in establishing or disputing the existence of a common law marriage.

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