Does Common Law Marriage Exist In Texas?
Texas recognizes informal marriages, most commonly known as common-law marriages, in fact, common-law marriages are in the Texas Family Code. As time changes, so do people and their perspectives on values and standards. Today, it is common for unmarried couples to reside in the same household.
Many even have children together and conduct their daily lives as any family would. Many people choose this lifestyle as an alternative to a formal marriage whether for convenience or preference. However, obtaining a marriage license and getting married in a big white dress in a church is not the only way to have a recognizable marriage.
Requirements for Common Law Marriages
With informal marriages, all of the formal requirements for a formal marriage still apply. For example, the couple must have the legal capacity to enter into a marriage, must not be a minor, be of the same sex, or be related. For a common-law marriage to exist, a man and a woman must (1) agree to be married – this is not the same as an agreement TO BE married (“engaged to be engaged”, if you will); (2) co-habitat, or live together; and (3) hold themselves out as husband and wife, such as introducing each other as “my husband” or “my wife”.
If all three requirements are met, under the eyes of the law, the couple is married. As a result, all the legal implications and consequences of a formal marriage apply to informal marriages as well, one of which is divorce. Once a common-law marriage has been established, the couple cannot simply “break-up” but must undergo divorce proceedings as with formal marriage.