Common law marriage is recognized as a legal union in the state of Texas so long as the stipulations for common law marriage are met. This arrangement seems rather easy to make; however, as a divorce lawyer knows, there is one important detail to remember with this type of marriage. Since it is recognized as a legal arrangement, common law marriage requires the same process as any other marriage to dissolve it. Divorce in common law marriage still requires the assistance of a divorce attorney to help with the customary division of marital property, as well as legal decisions regarding child custody and child support, as necessary.
What Is Common Law Marriage in Texas?
Common law marriage is recognized by a number of states, including Texas. According to a lawyer experienced in family law, a common law marriage can be recognized as legal so long as the relationship meets the following three requirements:
Both Parties agree freely to be married.
Both people live together as husband and wife.
Both people present themselves to others as being married.
When all three of these details are met, the state of Texas recognizes the relationship as a legal and valid marriage between any two adults who are 18 years or older.
Formal Recognition of Common Law Marriage
Common law marriage in Texas is recognized and accepted to be the same as any other ceremonial marriage in the state. Should the couple wish to further formalize the marriage, they can file a Declaration of Marriage with their county clerk. It is important to know that the marriage may not be recognized as valid in other states.
Common Law Marriage and Divorce
As a recognized legal marriage, an experienced divorce lawyer will advise that the same legal proceedings are required to end a common law marriage, with one added detail: the spouse who is requesting the divorce must first prove the marriage was valid, either by presenting a Declaration of Marriage or another type of proof that the couple lived in a common law marriage. If no Declaration of Marriage has been filed and the couple separates before filing for divorce, an experienced divorce attorney recommends that they file within two years after separation. After that time, it is more challenging to prove that the common law marriage existed in order to file for a divorce.
Normal divorce proceedings must be followed to dissolve a common law marriage. Walking away from a common law partner does not release a spouse from a common law marriage arrangement simply because that person no longer wants to be married. Couples need to file for a divorce the same way as any other married couple. All normal divorce, child custody, child support, and spousal support laws apply, just as they do in a conventional marriage.
Common law marriage in Texas is legal, so long as the necessary requirements are met. To dissolve that marriage, it would be advisable for a couple to work with a divorce lawyer who can file all necessary paperwork to end a common law marriage. For more information about common law marriage or divorce, speak with an experienced divorce attorney, who can handle all the necessary divorce paperwork.
Garza & Elizondo, LLP, Attorney At Law
680 E. St Charles St Suite 100
Brownsville TX 78520
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