In Texas, common law marriages are referred to as informal marriages. It is one of nine states that provide for this type of marriage. Texas Family Code Section 2.401 establishes what constitutes common law marriage in Texas. There are two ways that couples in Texas may enter into an informal marriage, each of which is explained below.
Texas Informal Marriage Method #1
The first way is to file a simple swearing certificate with the clerk of the court. This is essentially just a form that states that you and your partner swear that you are married.
The Declaration of Informal Marriage, Form H1057, is a very simple, one-sheet document. The following declaration is located at the bottom of the form, under which both of you sign.
“I solemnly swear (or affirm) that we, the undersigned, are married to each other by virtue of the following facts: On or about ____________ we agreed to be married, and after that date we lived together as husband and wife and in this state we represented to others that we were married. Since the date of marriage to the other party I have not been married to any other person. This declaration is true and the information in it which I have given is correct.”
The clerk will keep the certificate on file, and from that point on, the courts consider you wed. You and your partner will then be subject to all the rights and responsibilities of married partners.
Texas Informal Marriage Method #2
When people wonder what constitutes common law marriage in Texas, though, they often do so because they’re wondering if they are considered married without having signed any official forms. In fact, it is possible to be in an informal marriage without having signed anything.
You must meet the three conditions laid out in § 2.401(a)(2).
- You agree that you are married.
- You live together as husband and wife.
- You represent yourselves to the community as if you were married.
You must be 18 or older and must not be in another marriage to obtain an informal marriage in Texas.
Common Law Marriage and Divorce
When couples are in an informal marriage wish to part ways, they are usually confused about their legal responsibilities in terms of divorce. This is why knowing what constitutes common law marriage in Texas is important, it can dictate what you must do if your relationship ends.
Each case is unique; whether or not you are required to go through the divorce process is determined by whether you meet the criteria for Texas common law marriage, as well whether or not there are children and mutual assets. If you were not living together for the last two years, then the state presumes you were not married.
For questions about common law marriage separations in Dallas, call Warren & Migliaccio. Contact us today at (888) 584-9614 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.