Are You Common Law Married?
In Texas, a couple can become husband and wife without a marriage license or wedding ceremony. This is referred to as a common-law marriage. To become common law married, a couple must meet three criteria:
- The couple must agree to be married.
- The couple must live together as husband and wife.
- The couple must present themselves as a married couple.
If these three criteria are met, a couple is common law married. They are legally married, and have the same rights and obligations as any other married couple.
At Weinman & Associates, P.C. in Austin, our lawyers can handle all legal issues related to common-law marriage, including proving or disproving a common-law marriage, advising on how to avoid common-law marriage and providing divorce services for couples who are common law married. Regardless of your goals, you can benefit from our 20-plus years of experience.
Common-Law Marriage Is Not Automatic
There is a great deal of misinformation about how common-law marriage works. We are committed to helping people understand how it really works.
One of the most frequent misunderstandings about common-law marriage is that a cohabiting couple automatically becomes common law married after a certain number of years. This is not the case. Even if the couple is living together, if they are not holding themselves out as husband and wife, they are not common law married.
Alternatives To Common-Law Marriage
Some people want to become common law married in order to get the legal benefits of marriage. It is important to understand that there are other options available. For example, you can have wills drafted that name your loved one as a beneficiary or you can have a cohabitation agreement created that outlines how property will be divided upon breakup.
Divorce And Common-Law Marriage
For couples in a common-law marriage, divorce is the same as it is for those who got a marriage license and had a wedding ceremony. The only distinction is that the process may be proceeded with a dispute over whether or not there was a common-law marriage. One party may claim that there was a common-law marriage in order to go through the divorce process and obtain a division of property, while the other may claim that there was no common-law marriage so each party should keep his or her individual property.
We can review the facts of the case and assist in proving or disproving the common-law marriage. If the marriage is proven, our family law attorneys can proceed with the divorce process, protecting your rights and interests every step of the way.