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Common Law Marriage Attorneys in Austin


In our state, a formal wedding ceremony is not necessary in order to be considered married in the eyes of the law. It is the general assumption that this is a requirement, and many people are surprised to hear that this assumption is incorrect. A common law marriage can lead to the same legal effects as a marriage after it has been fully established. The primary difference between this form of union and a traditional marriage is the existence of a marriage certificate. One of the main requirements is that the couple must agree that they both desire for the marriage to take place. There are three criteria that must be met for a common law marriage, also referred to as “informal marriage”, to exist. This is important to know, so that you can determine if it applies in your situation.

Proof of an Informal Marriage

Informal marriage is outlined in ยง 2.401 of the Texas Family Code, explaining what must be met in order to establish one. Couples have the option of filing a Declaration of Informal Marriage before the County Clerk or by adhering to three requirements including an agreement to marry, living together in the state and presenting themselves as married to others. A couple does not need to repetitively represent themselves as married for the informal marriage to be valid and even one instance can be enough.

Ending a Common Law Marriage

If you are involved in an informal or common law marriage, the same basic steps of a divorce, as if you were married in a legal ceremony, should be followed. The judge will review a number of factors in order to establish that the common law marriage did actually exist and can then make decisions regarding child custody, visitation and support. One of the more complicated issues to resolve in an informal or common law marriage is property division. Figuring out what is considered to be community property and dividing it fairly can be a rigorous and difficult process. In the same manner as a marriage, an individual looking to remarry must complete the divorce process for their informal marriage.