What is Common Law Marriage?
According to the Texas State Law Library’s website:
Common law marriage, also known as marriage without formalities or informal marriage, is a valid and legal way for a couple to marry in Texas. Texas law states that a common law marriage may be proved by evidence that the couple:
“agreed to be married”; and
“after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife”; and they
“represented to others that they were married”
Can Minors Enter Into A Common Law Marriage?
In the case of children under the age of 18, Texas does not observe common law marriage. Both spouses must be adults, even if there is parental consent for marriage given to a party under the age of 18. There are no scenarios in which an individual under the age of 18 can be recognized as a part of a common law marriage.
Ending a Common Law Marriage in Texas
In Texas, common law marriages are recognized as having the same legal status as a traditional marriage. This means, when a common law marriage no longer exists, a formal divorce may be required in order to officially end it.
Common law divorces are the same as traditional marriages, except you must first prove to the court that you fit the standard of marriage that is recognized by the state. The spouse that first files divorce papers with the court has the burden to prove that there was a common law marriage. At Renken Law Firm in Houston, we can help you gather the necessary information to prove to a court that you and your spouse are in a common law marriage. Once you have had your marriage recognized, you can begin the divorce process. While divorce is never easy or fun, working with an experienced divorce attorney and certified divorce coach can help make the process go as smoothly as possible.
What Are The Grounds For Common Law Divorce in Texas?
According to FindLaw.com’s website:
There are seven grounds for divorce in Texas including:
Insupportability – Divorce is granted without fault if the marriage can no longer continue because of disagreements or differences that cannot be resolved
Cruelty – Can be mental or physical
Felony conviction – During the marriage, your spouse has been convicted of a felony and imprisoned for at least one year (in any state or federal prison) and has not been pardoned. However, you cannot use this ground if your testimony is what was used in court to convict your spouse.
Abandonment – Your spouse left you with the intention of abandoning you and remained away for at least one year
Living apart – You and your spouse have lived apart (without cohabitation) for at least three years
Confinement in mental hospital – your spouse has been confined in a mental hospital (state or private) for at least three years (at the time you file for divorce) and it appears that his mental disorder is a type that will not get better (or if it does get better, it appears that a relapse is probable).
Child Support With a Common Law Spouse
If you and your common law spouse have had children during the marriage, you may be required to pay child support. The judge may require one or both parents to provide child support and medical support until:
-The child turns 18 or graduates from high school (whichever comes later)
-The child is emancipated (released from custodial care)
-The death of the child
-If the child is disabled, child support payments could last for an indefinite period of time.
Learn More About Common Law Marriage
Marriage laws and divorce cases can be complex even in traditional settings, however, matters can become even more complicated in less traditional scenarios. If you have any questions or concerns about your current status, getting a divorce, or learning more about common law marriage in Texas, contact Renken Law Firm today.
Divorce Attorney in Houston
Renken Law Firm is here to help couples who wish to dissolve their marriage, whether that be through divorce or legal separation. We are here to help those who are ending marriages that have been contested, uncontested, or collaborative. We are fully prepared to help you navigate the specifics of your case. We proudly serve the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.