Can an LGBTQ+ Couple be “Common Law” or Informally Married in Texas?


Short Answer: Yes! In Texas, LGBTQ+ couples may enter into valid informal marriages. In Texas, the term “common law marriage” has been replaced with the term “informal marriage.” An informal marriage has three requirements: (1) the couple must have previously agreed to be married either by oral or written agreement; (2) the couple must be living together; and (3) the couple must be representing to others that they are married. Once a couple has satisfied all three elements, an informal marriage exists, and can only be terminated by a formal divorce. Thanks to a United States Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges that was decided in 2015, same-sex couples have a constitutional right to enter into formal as well as informal marriages.

Since same-sex couples have all the same rights and protections granted to heterosexual couples that enter into informal marriages, it is important that same-sex couples understand their rights if they should choose to separate in the future. With the right to enter into an informal marriage comes the right to divorce. Divorce can be a stressful time for individuals who are challenged with difficult legal issues such as child custody, property division, and spousal support. For LGBTQ+ individuals, there can be several other unique considerations that may arise, especially with an informal marriage.

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and are facing a divorce or have questions about informal marriage, you need an attorney who will not only fiercely advocate on your behalf, but one who can also empathize with your unique situation. Contact Kirker Davis LLP today to schedule a free telephone consultation if you have questions about your same-sex relationship.

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