Can you be married in Texas even if you never had a formal wedding? Or even if you never went and obtained a marriage license? In Texas, the answer to both questions is yes.
You can be considered married even if you were not formally married. This is what is commonly called a common-law marriage, or informal marriage.
Is Common Law Marriage Legal in Texas?
A common law marriage is a legal marriage in Texas, and, when a common-law marriage exists, the same rights and obligations that exist in a formal marriage apply to the common law marriage. This includes all the rights and obligations concerning community property and spousal support.
In order to prove that you are in a common-law marriage, you need to show that neither you nor your partner or spouse is involved in another marriage, whether it be formal or informal, and that the partners or spouses were at least 18 when the informal marriage was created.
Don’t We Need An Agreement to Be Married in Texas?
There must be an agreement to be married. This agreement can be a written one, and if signed by both spouses, can be filed with the county clerk. The agreement to be married, however, does not have to be written nor does it have to be on file with the county clerk. The agreement to be married can come from evidence that both spouses made such an agreement but can also come from evidence which infers such an agreement. Evidence indicates that the spouses used the same last name, held themselves out as married, referred to each other as husband or wife, listed your partner or spouse as a spouse on insurance forms, tax forms, banking documents, and the like.
Another requirement for a common law marriage is that the spouses live together, in Texas, as husband and wife, and, while doing so, represented to others that they were married.
A declaration that you are in a common-law marriage can affect your rights if the relationship ends, and divorce is needed, as well as inheritance rights.
Contact Our Common Law Marriage Attorneys in Houston, Texas Today
If you are involved in a relationship where you and your partner are not formally married but are living together, it is likely in your best interest to determine if your relationship has risen to the level where you and your partner are considered legally married.
Having knowledge of your legal marital status can assist you in determining what the best method is in making any asset or property purchases or sales decisions, as well as what your options may be with regards to your separate property and the relationships community property.
The lawyers at Stepp and Sullivan can assist you in determining the status of your relationship, whether it rises to the level of an informal marriage, and further, what affects your relationship’s status has on your assets, property rights, and inheritance rights.
Contact our Houston family law attorneys today to learn more about your unique case. At Stepp & Sullivan, P.C, we make it personal. Powerful.