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Common Law Marriage

Fort Worth Attorneys Assisting Clients Navigate Divorce in Common Law Marriage

Common law marriage, also known as informal marriage, is a type of marriage recognized in some states, including Texas. In the context of divorce, determining whether a couple is in a common law marriage can be complex, as the couple may not have a formal marriage certificate. If you are facing a divorce and believe you may be in a common law marriage, you will need to understand the divorce laws that will apply in your situation and the steps you can take to protect your rights.

At Clark Law Group, we understand the complexities often involved when couples in common law marriages choose to get divorced. Our well-trained attorneys are proficient in all matters pertaining to divorce. As a result, you can feel confident that we can protect your rights and best interests throughout the divorce process.

Determining if a Couple is in a Common Law Marriage

In Texas, a couple is considered to be in a common law marriage if they meet specific requirements, including:

  • The couple has agreed to be married.
  • The couple lived together in Texas as husband and wife.
  • The couple held themselves out to the public as being married.

Please keep in mind that in Texas, couples are not required to be together for any specific amount of time before they declare themselves to be in a common law marriage. Furthermore, to prove a common law marriage, the couple must provide evidence that they meet all three of these requirements. This may include documents such as joint bank accounts, joint tax returns, or testimony from friends and family.

Issues to Address in a Divorce Involving a Common Law Marriage

If a couple is in a common law marriage and decides to divorce, they must address many of the same issues as legally married couples. These issues may include the following:

  • Property division – Texas is a community property state, meaning property acquired during the marriage is generally divided equitably between the spouses in a divorce. This includes property acquired after a couple was considered to be married. In some cases, disputes may arise about exactly when a common law marriage began, and this may affect whether certain types of property will need to be divided between spouses.
  • Spousal support – A spouse may sometimes be entitled to spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, after a divorce. This may be the case if one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other or if one spouse gave up career opportunities to support the other spouse.
  • Child custody and child support – If a couple has children together, they must address child custody and support issues during their divorce. This may include determining where the children will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, and how much child support will be paid.
  • Retirement and pension benefits – If one spouse has a retirement savings account or has earned pension benefits during their marriage, these benefits may be subject to division in a divorce.
  • Healthcare – If one spouse is covered under the other spouse’s health insurance, they may need to find a new insurance provider after their divorce.

It is important to note that if a couple is in a common law marriage and decides to end their marriage and pursue a divorce, they must obtain a divorce in the same way married couples must get a divorce. This means filing a petition for divorce and addressing all of the same issues as other legally married couples.

Contact a Dallas Divorce Attorney for Common Law Spouses

At Clark Law Group, we understand the intricacies of the divorce process, including in cases involving common law marriage. It is common for individuals considering getting a divorce to be confused or overwhelmed with everything that needs to be sorted out. Clients can rest assured knowing our experienced and skillful attorneys will work vigorously on behalf of our clients to achieve the best possible outcome while protecting their rights and interests. For more information, please call 469-906-2266 or contact us online for a private consultation.


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