Common Law Marriage Vs Marriage In Texas


Common Law Marriage Vs Marriage In Texas: Understanding the Differences and Legal Implications

Marriage is a sacred union that brings two individuals together, legally and emotionally. In Texas, there are two types of marriage recognized by the law: common law marriage and formal marriage. Although they may seem similar in some aspects, there are crucial differences that individuals should be aware of. In this article, we will explore the distinctions between common law marriage and formal marriage in Texas, shedding light on their legal implications and addressing common questions relating to both types of unions.

Interesting Facts about Common Law Marriage in Texas

1. Texas is one of the few states in the United States that recognizes common law marriage. To establish a common law marriage, couples must meet specific criteria set by the state.

2. Unlike formal marriages, common law marriages do not require a marriage license or a formal ceremony. It is a legally binding union that is established through the couple’s mutual agreement to be married and their actions in presenting themselves as married.

3. Common law marriages can be established if the couple lives together, refers to each other as spouses, and holds themselves out to the public as married. Simply living together does not automatically create a common law marriage.

4. To prove the existence of a common law marriage, couples may provide evidence such as joint bank accounts, joint property ownership, shared bills, or affidavits from friends and family who can attest to their marital status.

5. In the event of a breakup, couples in a common law marriage must go through a legal divorce process, just like couples in a formal marriage. This involves division of assets, child custody, and other legalities.

6. While some states recognize common law marriages from other states, Texas only recognizes common law marriages that were established within its borders.

7. It is worth noting that as of September 1, 2019, Texas no longer allows new common law marriages to be established. However, existing common law marriages are still recognized under the law.

Interesting Facts about Marriage in Texas

1. Formal marriages, also known as ceremonial marriages, require a marriage license and a formal ceremony conducted by an authorized person, such as a religious leader or a judge.

2. Texas law requires both parties to be at least 18 years old to get married, unless they have parental consent or a court order.

3. Marriage licenses in Texas are valid for up to 90 days from the date of issuance. If the marriage does not take place within this period, a new license must be obtained.

4. The marriage ceremony must be witnessed by at least two people who are at least 18 years old and capable of understanding the ceremony.

5. In Texas, marriage can be dissolved through divorce, annulment, or the death of a spouse.

6. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Texas since the Supreme Court ruling in 2015, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

7. Pre-marital counseling is not mandatory in Texas, but many couples choose to undergo counseling to strengthen their relationship before tying the knot.

Common Questions about Common Law Marriage and Marriage in Texas

1. Are common law marriages recognized in other states?

Yes, some states recognize common law marriages that were legally established in other states. However, Texas only recognizes common law marriages established within its own borders.

2. How can I prove the existence of a common law marriage?

Evidence such as joint bank accounts, shared property, shared bills, and affidavits from friends and family who can attest to your marital status can help prove the existence of a common law marriage.

3. Can I have a common law marriage and a formal marriage at the same time?

No, you cannot be in a common law marriage and a formal marriage simultaneously. If you have a formal marriage, it automatically nullifies any common law marriage.

4. Can common law marriages be ended without legal divorce proceedings?

No, ending a common law marriage requires going through a legal divorce process, just like formal marriages. This involves division of assets, child custody, and other legalities.

5. What happens if my common law marriage was established before September 1, 2019?

If your common law marriage was established before this date, it is still recognized as a valid marriage under Texas law.

6. How do I obtain a marriage license in Texas?

To obtain a marriage license, both parties must appear in person at the county clerk’s office, provide identification, pay a fee, and sign an application. The license is typically issued immediately and is valid for 90 days.

7. Can I get married in Texas if I am under 18 years old?

If you are under 18 years old, you can get married in Texas with parental consent or a court order.

8. Is a religious ceremony required for a formal marriage in Texas?

No, a religious ceremony is not required. A formal marriage can be conducted by an authorized person, such as a religious leader or a judge.

9. Can a same-sex couple get married in Texas?

Yes, same-sex marriage has been legal in Texas since the Supreme Court ruling in 2015.

10. Is pre-marital counseling mandatory in Texas?

No, pre-marital counseling is not mandatory in Texas, but many couples choose to undergo counseling to strengthen their relationship before getting married.

11. Can I change my last name after marriage in Texas?

Yes, you can change your last name after marriage. Simply indicate your desired new name on the marriage license application.

12. How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas?

The duration of a divorce process varies depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case and the cooperation of both parties. On average, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to finalize a divorce in Texas.

13. Can I get a divorce if I was married in a different state?

Yes, you can get a divorce in Texas even if you were married in a different state. However, you must meet the residency requirements set by Texas law.

14. Can I remarry immediately after a divorce in Texas?

Yes, there is no waiting period to remarry after a divorce in Texas.

In conclusion, understanding the differences between common law marriage and formal marriage is crucial for individuals in Texas. While common law marriage requires meeting specific criteria and does not require a formal ceremony, formal marriage entails obtaining a marriage license and undergoing a formal ceremony. Both types of unions have legal implications and require legal proceedings in case of separation. It is essential to consult legal professionals for accurate guidance tailored to individual circumstances.

Quotes from professionals in the field:

1. “The recognition of common law marriage in Texas provides an alternative legal framework for couples who may not have gone through a formal ceremony but have established a committed relationship over time.” – Family Law Attorney

2. “Formal marriages offer legal protections and rights that may not be automatically granted in common law marriages, making them a preferred choice for many couples seeking legal certainty.” – Marriage Counselor

3. “The decision to enter into a common law marriage should not be taken lightly, as it holds the same legal weight as a formal marriage and requires the same legal process to dissolve.” – Divorce Attorney

4. “Marriage, whether through common law or formal means, represents a bond of love, commitment, and responsibility. It is essential for couples to understand the legal implications of their chosen union and seek professional advice when needed.” – Relationship Therapist

Final Thoughts:

Whether it is through common law marriage or formal marriage, the decision to join in matrimony is a significant and personal one. Texas provides options for couples to choose the type of union that best suits their circumstances and preferences. Understanding the legal differences, rights, and responsibilities associated with each type of marriage is crucial to ensure a solid foundation for a lasting and fulfilling relationship. Seeking guidance from legal professionals and counselors can help navigate the complexities of marriage, ensuring a smooth journey towards a harmonious and legally secure future.

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