Fewer than nine states currently recognize common-law marriages, including Texas. This type of union is also sometimes called an informal marriage, as the couple involved does not stand up in front of a judge or any other person licensed to perform marriages to wed. The State Bar of Texas asserts that couples who enter a common-law marriage need only to agree to it and represent themselves as married to others.
Those living in a common-law marriage in Texas may wonder if there are any specific rules for divorce for their situation. Just as there are certain guidelines for common-law marriage, dissolving such a union has its own rules for Texas residents as well.
Divorce laws are similar for all
Common-law couples need to follow Texas divorce laws, even if they are not required to formally marry. In the event of a divorce, the individual who desires the split must announce his or her intent to file for divorce, then submit the proper papers to the local courthouse.
Separation does not equal divorce
Those in common-law marriages are not considered divorced if they simply separate. Even if the split involves each person living apart, one or the other must file for divorce. Couples may also annul a marriage, but they must involve the local Texas courts to do so as well.
A court rebuttal may occur
In some cases, a Texas court may not allow a common-law couple to divorce unless they can prove the marriage existed. Those who wish to divorce from such a marriage may have to present proof before two years from the date of separation.
Local Texas courts may have other rules regarding divorce for common-law couples. Those who wish to enter such a union may want to learn those laws before announcing their marriage.