Common Law Divorce in Texas: Understanding the Basics
Navigating the intricacies of marriage and divorce can be a challenge, especially when it comes to understanding common law marriages in Texas. Let’s clear the air and provide you with a comprehensive look at common law divorce in the Lone Star State.
What is Common Law Marriage?
A common law or “informal” marriage in Texas isn’t just about cohabitation. The state may recognize it if a couple fulfills the following criteria:
1. Agreement to be Married: Both individuals must agree that they’re married.
2. Living Together in Texas: They should be cohabiting within the state.
3. Representation as a Married Couple: They present themselves to others as a married duo.
Should these conditions be satisfied, the couple is recognized as being in a common law marriage.
Divorcing in a Common Law Marriage
If you’re in a legally recognized common law marriage in Texas, parting ways isn’t as simple as moving out. A formal divorce process, similar to that of ceremonial marriages, is required.
Steps for Common Law Divorce in Texas
1. File for Divorce: Initiate by filing an Original Petition for Divorce in the respective county court.
2. Proof of Marriage: As common law marriages lack a marriage certificate, evidence that the relationship fulfilled the three criteria is required. Documentation could include joint tax returns, shared bank accounts, or testimonies from acquaintances.
3. Division of Property and Assets: In Texas, a community property state, assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are viewed as jointly owned. Determining marital from separate property is essential.
4. Child Custody and Support: For couples with children, the court will adjudicate child custody, visitation, and support, with the child(ren)’s best interests at heart.
5. Spousal Support: Depending on specific situations, one partner may need to provide spousal support to the other, considering factors such as the relationship’s duration and each party’s financial standing.
6. Finalize the Divorce: After all issues have been addressed or adjudicated, a divorce decree is issued, marking the official end of the common law marriage.
Statute of Limitations: Should you part ways and neither party files for divorce within two years, Texas might assume there was no common law marriage initially. Post this two-year period, substantiating the common law marriage might require added evidence.
Need Assistance or Have Queries?
Understanding legal nuances can be overwhelming. If you find yourself with questions or require guidance on the subject, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Emmett R. Reyes at (361) 944-4529. We’re here to assist you in navigating the intricacies of common law divorce in Texas.
Texas’s stance on common law marriages mirrors that of ceremonial unions when it comes to rights and responsibilities. Ensuring you’re well-informed is pivotal, and seeking expert legal advice can make the process smoother.