Texas is one of a handful of states that recognizes the common-law marriage. As a result, if you want to be considered married without going through the formal process of getting a marriage license or having a ceremony, you should consider this type of relationship.

Many couples have questions about common-law marriages, as it’s not always clear what constitutes this type of marriage. If you are curious about this kind of informal marriage, check out some facts to know, and then talk to a Texas family law lawyer to learn more.

What Are the Elements of a Common-Law Marriage?

Many people assume that a relationship becomes a common-law marriage after living together for a certain number of years. But the truth is that there is no specific number of years that you must live together for. In addition, you actually have to meet some requirements before your relationship can be called a common-law marriage.

First, you must both be at least 18 years old, not married to anyone else, and not related to each other. If you and your spouse meet these conditions, you then have to meet the following qualifications:

• You must both live in Texas
• You must agree to be married to each other
• You must both represent yourselves as husband and wife

How Can You Prove This Type of Relationship?

If you meet the above conditions, you have a common-law marriage in Texas. But how can you prove this? If you ever find yourselves needing to show evidence of your common-law marriage, presenting certain documents showing you live together and have bills in both your names should be sufficient. Examples include lease agreements, mortgage statements, utility bills, insurance policies, and tax returns.

You can also go to the Texas court closest to your home and register your common-law marriage with the county clerk. You will simply have to file a declaration stating your relationship status. A Texas family law lawyer can help you with this if necessary.

How Can You End a Common-Law Marriage?

It’s rare that you would have to prove your common-law marriage, which is why registering it with the court is not required. However, one instance in which you will need to prove that your common-law marriage existed is during a divorce.

In that case, if you want to benefit from the fact that Texas is a community property state, and you wish to divide your assets equally, you will need to prove that you were informally married before you can get a divorce. If you need help with this or other issues regarding common-law marriage in Texas, contact our law firm at (817) 813-8513 to speak with a skilled family law attorney.