A Guide to Common Law Marriage and Divorce

Posted on December 2, 2019 by Chris Kirker

Common law marriages, referred to officially as “Informal Marriages,” are considered to be just as valid as formal marriages under Texas law. To be considered informally married in Texas, the couple must provide evidence that they:

  1. Agreed to be married,
  2. Lived together as husband and wife in Texas, and
  3. Represented to others (or held themselves out) that they were married.

An individual element alone is not enough to prove a couple is informally married, but when all three are present to some degree, an informal marriage exists. Though the Texas Family Code does not define exactly what “representing to others” means, Texas courts have interpreted the issue on a case-by-case basis. Representing to others can be as simple as introducing themselves as a married couple, wearing wedding rings on a regular basis, or doing an act typical of a married couple, such as opening a joint banking account or signing a lease together as a married couple.

Couples who are informally married, just as those who are formally married, may face the issue of divorce. However, there is no such thing as an “informal divorce” under Texas law, so couples who are married informally must follow the same procedure as married couples. The only difference is that whoever initially files for the dissolution of an informal marriage must prove that they are in fact informally married.

If you or your partner are considering the dissolution of your relationship, but are unsure if you could be considered informally married, you need a team of highly experienced divorce litigation attorneys who will zealously fight for your rights. Contact Kirker│Davis LLP to schedule a meeting with a divorce litigation attorney today.


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