If you’ve lived with your partner for quite some time and decide to separate, are you considered common law married in Texas? Must you go through the divorce process? As Texas is considered a community property state, many individual enter into a common law marriage as an alternative to going through the process of applying for and receiving a marriage license. They believe that by not going through the legal marriage process that they are immune to the legal requirement to split certain assets. The State of Texas affords certain rights to individuals in a common law marriage. The Law Office of Julie Johnson can help you enforce and protect your legal rights if your common law marriage has met its end.
Determining If You’re in a Common Law Marriage
Fam § 2.401 states the legal requirements of a Texas common law marriage:
- A declaration of marriage signed by the parties; or
- The couple agrees to be married and they live together while presenting themselves to others as a married couple.
The traditional standards of marriage also apply to common law marriage in Texas. For example, an individual who is under the age of 18 may not be considered common law married. An individual who is presently married to another person who is not a party to the common marriage also may enter into a common law marriage.
Divorce and Common Law Marriage
Individuals who meet the elements of being a party to a common law marriage have the same rights and responsibilities as individuals who enter into a traditional marriage. The difference between a common law divorce and a traditional divorce is that the common law marriage must first be proven to exist. Individuals in a common law marriage may file for a divorce for the same ground(s) as a traditionally married couple.
The Importance of a Texas Divorce Lawyer for Ending a Common Law Marriage
Often, many Texas common law marriages seem like a reasonable alternative. However, if they end, it may become a “he said / she said” situation as one party who does not want to lose items that would be considered community property may deny that they ever agreed to being common law marriage and that they never held themselves out as a spousal party to one. A Texas divorce lawyer with common law marriage experience has the necessary skills to help determine if there was a valid common law marriage.
The Statute of Limitations in Common Law Divorce Claims
While individuals who are parties to a traditional legal marriage can choose at any time when they will file for divorce, common law divorce claims have a statute of limitations. Under Texas law, a party to a common law marriage have only two years after the union ends to file their claim.
The Law Office of Julie Johnson Is Here to Help
With more than two decades of family law experience, The Law Office of Julie Johnson has the experience and skill you need to help you determine if you were common law married. If so, we may be able to help ensure that you get your share of community property during the divorce process. However, it’s imperative that you contact us as soon as possible to ensure that your claim can be filed before the statute of limitation expires. Our law office is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call now: 214-265-7630 to schedule your free consultation.