What is a Texas Common Law Divorce?

Let our Houston Divorce Lawyers Explain

Photo of Common Law EntryCommon law marriage is recognized in Texas and, should the spouses choose to separate, they can receive a divorce from their common law marriage. However, the rules for divorce for a common law marriage are slightly different than the rules for typical divorces.

Establishing Common Law Marriage

First of all, it is important to establish that you were actually in a common law marriage. To be valid, Texas common law marriages must meet the following requirements:

  • Both parties must have agreed to be married
  • The couple must have held themselves out to the community as husband and wife, either by introducing each other as husband and wife or by filing a joint income tax return
  • The couple must live as husband and wife

All three of these requirements must be met for a relationship to be considered a common law marriage. While many couples live with each other for extended periods of time, these couples are only considered married under common law if they also meet the first two requirements.

Filing for Common Law Divorce

Once it has been established that a common law marriage exists, the marriage may only be dissolved by filing for divorce. However, if a couple that is married under common law separates and an action for divorce is not filed within two years after the parties cease living together, it is presumed that they did not agree to be married in the first place.

If you are married under the common law and decide to separate from your spouse, it may seem simpler to just separate without filing for divorce, since your marriage will be considered non-existent if you remain separated for a period of two years. However, there may be many reasons to file for common law divorce, including the following:

Once it has been determined that there is a common law marriage, the property division, child custody and support obligations upon divorce are the same as a civil marriage.

Assistance with Your Common Law Divorce

If you were married under the common law and are now separated from your partner, you need a qualified Houston family lawyer who has experience dealing with the complex rules surrounding common law divorce. The Houston divorce lawyers at John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C., have experience with the various aspects of divorce, including the issues surrounding common law divorce. Contact a Houston divorce attorney at John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C., today for assistance with your common law divorce.