Monday, October 09, 2006

Am I common law married?

Someone recently asked this question in the office, which caused us to again look at the common law (or informal marriage) statute. According to the Texas Family Code, there are 2 ways to be informally married.

1. Sign a declaration of informal marriage (which is kind of like filling out a birth certificate form)


2. Agreed to be married, live together in Texas as husband and wife, and represent to others that you are married.

Some typical proof of informal marriage is the "wife's" use of the "husband's" last name, the way that you filed a tax return (married filing jointly), or the way assets or bills are titled (Mr. and Mrs. Smith). Other typical proof is the having of children together and the comments made to neighbors, family members or other friends.

A few other interesting things about Texas law on this subject are:

--you cannot be informally married if you are minor

--you also cannot sign a declaration of informal marriage if you are married to someone else

--only a man and a woman can be informally married (i.e. homosexual couples do not qualify).

As always, please feel free to contact us through our website ( if we can be of assistance.

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