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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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1915 views   |   51   |   Last updated on Oct 02, 2018    Family Law

Yes, Texas law does recognize common law marriages, which are referred to as “marriages without formalities” or “informal marriages.” See chapter 2, subchapter E of the Texas Family Code for the state laws on common law marriages.

A common misconception is that partners may accidentally enter into a common law marriage simply by living together for a certain amount of time. But chapter 2, subchapter E of the Texas Family Code sets out the requirements that must be met in order to prove a common law marriage.

TexasLawHelp.org hosts an article on common law marriages authored by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. To prove a common law marriage, they state all of the following must be shown:

You must show that you and your partner:

  • are not already married, informally or formally, to anyone else at the time the marriage was created, and
  • both you and your partner were at least 18 years of age when the marriage was created; and
  • you agreed to be married, and
  • afterward, lived in Texas as a married couple, and
  • represented to others that you are married (“holding out” to others).

It is also possible to register a common law marriage by signing a declaration of informal marriage. This form is provided by the county clerk.

Review our common law marriage research guide if you would like to locate more information about common law marriage.

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