Common Law Marriage
Can you hold yourself out as husband and wife and have this be legally recognized? In Texas, yes you can.
While most people assume that the only way to make it official is to say “I do” and to ensure that the wedding is officiated by a judge, minister, or someone who is ordained, the fact is that in Texas, common law marriage is recognized. If you have questions about common law marriage, common law divorce, and common issues that arise in such unions (like whether or not you need a pre-nup), our team at Musemeche Law, P.C. can help. Please reach out to us directly today to learn more about common law marriage in Texas.
What is a Common Law Marriage?
As explained by the Texas State Law Library, a common law marriage is an informal marriage that is equally as valid and legal as a traditional marriage. Rather than having a ceremony that is officiated, however, a couple can enter a common law marriage when they:
- Agree to be married;
- Live together as husband and wife; and
- Present to others that they are married (i.e. call each other husband and wife or tell others they are married).
Again, even though the ceremony is not officiated, this type of marriage is just as legal as any other type of marriage and if a couple in a common law marriage decides to separate, they will have to go through the process of divorce.
Will I Need to Prove My Common Law Marriage?
For most day-to-day activities, being married in the eyes of the law will not make a big difference; however, there are some situations in which you may need to prove that you do indeed have a common law marriage. For this reason, having evidence on hand of your common law marriage might be a good idea. This could include testimony from a friend or family member, a statement signed by both you and your partner saying that you hold each other out as husband and wife (or wife/wife, husband/husband), evidence of wearing wedding rings, etc. The two times that it may be important to prove your common law marriage include:
- If you are separating. If you are separating from your common law spouse, then you will likely need to prove that you had a common law marriage in order to have protections under common law property rules and other divorce laws.
- Inheritance and healthcare decisions. You may also need to prove that you have a legally valid marriage in the case that something happens to your spouse and healthcare decisions need to be made, or in the case that your spouse dies and the issue of inheritance is brought into question.
Call Our Texas Family Law Attorneys Today
If you have more questions about common law marriage in Texas, our Texas family law attorneys at the office of Musemeche Law, P.C. are here to help. Please feel free to call us directly or send us a message online to get answers to your tough questions about common law.