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Are Common Law Marriages Legal in TX?

Do you need an official license from the state to be legally married? The answer depends on your jurisdiction. While most states require a formal marriage license, there are still eight U.S. states that recognize the legal validity of common law marriages. Texas is one of the minority of states that still allows for common law marriages. Here, our Fort Worth family law attorney provides a guide to the key things to know about common law marriages in Texas.

Common Law Marriage: Defined

A common law marriage is an informal marriage. As described by the Texas State Law Library, a common law marriage is a type of marriage that is recognized without the requirement of a formal ceremony or marriage license. Decades ago, many marriages were common law marriages. These marriages are rooted in a deep tradition that mutual consent and cohabitation should be enough to constitute a marriage. 

Texas Does Recognize Common Law Marriage

As noted previously, most American states no longer recognize common law marriages. However, Texas remains one of the exceptions (the other seven states are (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Utah). What does it mean to be common law married in Texas? It means that you are married, just the same as any couple that gets a formal marriage. Indeed, a couple in a common law marriage in Texas has the same rights/responsibilities as all other couples.

What You Need to Prove to Get a Common Law Marriage in Texas

Under Texas law (Texas Family Code Sec. 2.401){:target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”}, there are some very specific requirements that you must meet to get a common law marriage. Specifically, you will need to establish the following:

Get Help From a North Texas Family Law Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, our Fort Worth family lawyer provides compassionate, reliable representation across the full range of cases, including divorce and child custody. Have questions about a common law marriage or any other family issue? We are here as a legal resource that you can trust. Contact us now for your fully confidential consultation with a top family lawyer. We provide divorce representation in Fort Worth, Dallas, and all across North Texas.