What is a "common law" marriage exactly? It is a declaration of informal marriage with the county clerk that couples can pronounce and establish without the requirement of a formal procedure, and will serve as evidence of their official marital status.

For years I have always heard that in Texas when a woman and a man live together for six months and one day they are then considered legally married by Texas Common Law. NO! This is not true in Texas or anywhere else in the U.S. for that matter. Common Law Marriage has nothing to do with how long a couple has lived together.

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In Texas, common law marriages have specific requirements. Living together for a certain period does not automatically create a common law marriage. To establish a common law marriage, you must meet and follow this criteria:

  • Both partners must agree to be married
  • You must live together as a couple
  • You must represent yourselves to others as married (this is called "holding out")
  • Neither partner can be married to anyone else at the time the marriage is created
  • Both have to be at least 18 years old when making their declaration
  • Both have to agree to be married
  • Both will have to have lived in Texas and represented themselves as married
    Source: Varghese Family Law Group

It is crucial to note that establishing a common law marriage is not determined by the length of time you have lived together or if you have children. Once proven, a common law marriage holds legal validity and is equivalent to a traditional marriage.

Finally, in a divorce under Texas law, community property acquired during a common law marriage is divided similarly to a formal marriage. Debts accumulated during a common law marriage are also shared. As for inheritance, whether married formally or at common law, the spouse can inherit from the other spouse if the latter dies without a will.

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