Understanding Common Law Marriage and Divorce

Cohabitating with a significant other can seem like the perfect lifestyle for a new modern society but it can prove to have its challenges. Taking the time in understanding common law marriage can help you define your relationship and determine what a divorce could look like if you are looking at separation. If you are unsure if you fit the requirements, be sure to read further and contact your attorney to help determine your status and how this can effect a divorce.

What is a common law marriage?

A common law marriage is a legally binding marriage between two people who have consented that they are married without obtaining a marriage license. Under Texas law, common law marriage is recognized as a lawful union between two people.

Do I have a common law marriage?

There are a few requirements to have a legal common law marriage. First being, both individuals must have acknowledged that they are married, currently live together and have labeled themselves as married to the people around them. This is on top of also being over 18 and not related. Secondly, they also should have a legally binding document that shows they are cohabitating and have some type of asset together. This can be a mortgage, credit or a bank account. Lastly, you can also have a common law marriage if you decide on filing a declaration and registration of informal marriage. This document can be found at your local Texas County Clerk’s office. This is the most effective way to verify a common law marriage. It can also be the best way to keep your assets safe just incase there is a separation.

Filing for Divorce

If two individuals meet all the requirements for a common law marriage and have chosen to separate, either party can file for divorce. All debts and assets collected during the marriage that are considered community property and will be subject to division in court. It’s important to note that couples must make sure the common law marriage can be proven if asked to do so. You must also file for divorce sooner than later. Unlike traditional marriages, a common law marriage has an expiration date for divorce. If a common law couple has been separated for more than 2 years, and did not file for divorce, the marriage can be nulled. Either party can also dispute a common law marriage if there is proof of lack of capacity to enter a marriage. Reasons for a lack of capacity can include either party not being of sound mind or of age during the agreement.

For more information about common law marriage and divorce, contact C.Y. Lee Legal Group, PLLC . They are committed to keeping your best interests in mind while going through the divorce process.

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