Compliments of the Travis County Young Lawyer Associations
- A: You can record a form prescribed by the Bureau of Vital Statistics which is available at your county clerk's office.
- A: You will need to prove up the elements of the common law marriage doctrine as outlined elsewhere in this article. In order to do this, you must show evidence on each point. Your own testimony can be evidence of the existence of a common law marriage; for example, you can testify that your partner introduced you in social situations as his wife, or that you introduced him as your husband. Other people can also testify to the same effect. In addition, you can ask the court to consider documents which reflect that you and your partner held yourselves out to the world as being married. Typical documents presented in these types of cases include leases signed as husband and wife, tax returns filed jointly as a married couple, and insurance policies listing one person as the other person's spouse.
- A: Not all states have laws like those in Texas which allow persons to marry legally without going through a licensing procedure and marriage ceremony. If you are considering moving to another state, or if you think you may have entered into a common law marriage in another state because of your actions in that state, you should seek legal counsel from a family law attorney in the state which you are interested in.
- A: No. You must satisfy the three-part test described elsewhere in this article to be in a common law marriage, no mater how long you have been living together.
- A: No. You must satisfy the three-part test described elsewhere in this article to be in a common law marriage,even if you have had children together.
- A: It depends on whether you tried to correct the impression that you were married. If you did, you may have some argument that you had not agreed to be married. But if you knew that you were being introduced in this fashion and did nothing to correct the impression that you were married, you may well be in a common law marriage.
- A: No. Even one instance of publicly declaring yourself married can be sufficient to place you in such a marriage.
- A: Once the common law marriage is legally established and in existence, yes.
- A: Yes, if you are in or have been in a household with a violent person and there are recent incidents of violence or serious threats of violence. Being in a common law marriage does not prohibit you from requesting a protective order.
- A: Three elements must be present to form a common law marriage in Texas.
First, you must have "agreed to be married."
Second, you must have "held yourselves out" as husband and wife. You must have represented to others that you were married to each other. As an example of this, you may have introduced you partner socially as "my husband," or you may have filed a joint income tax return.
Third, you must have lived together in this state as husband and wife.
- A: Common law marriage may end in two ways. If there have been children or if property and debts remain undivided, you will want to seek a formal divorce. In a divorce, paternity, custody, support, and visitation can be determined, and debts and community property can be divided.
- Under a new provision of the Family Code, either partner in a common law marriage has two years after you split up to file an action to prove that the marriage did exist. In order to fit into this provision, you must have separated after September 1, 1989.
- Both partners in a common law marriage are responsible for debts and for care and support of children of the marriage. It is therefore urgent that you discuss the ending of this marriage with an attorney. You have a choice of methods, but they all require you to act within a certain length of time. However, even if the time has expired for you to obtain a divorce, other steps can be taken to get orders for payment of child support and visitation for children of the marriage.