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Common Law Marriage

A frequent mistaken belief is that if two people live together for a given period of time and/or have children then they are automatically considered to be common law married or informally married:  This is simply not true.  An informal marriage occurs when all three of the elements listed below are proven:

  1. they must have agreed to be married, i.e., have the intent to be married;
  2. they must have held themselves out as husband and wife; and
  3. they must have lived together as husband and wife while residing in Texas.

The person claiming the existence of an informal marriage must present evidence the proves all three elements listed above.   Evidence can take the form of oral testimony and/or the presentation of documents; such as, leases, tax returns, insurance policies, bank/credit applications, and other documents where a marriage is declared. 

If a common law marriage exists then the dissolution of the relationship will require formal divorce proceedings.