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Here in Texas if you are living together (also referred to as “cohabitating”) and want to avoid being designated as being in a common law marriage you need to read up and be educated on the law regarding Proof of Informal Marriage.

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Common Law Marriage Legal Issue

The Texas state law that outlines how to prove a common law or “informal” marriage is covered in Section 2.401 of the Texas Family Code.

Steps To Follow

There are several steps you can take to avoid being designated as having a common law marriage:

  1. Do not hold yourself out as being married:
  2. Don’t introduce your partner as your spouse.
  3. Don’t refer to them as your husband or wife.
  4. Don’t file federal tax returns as a married couple. (Totally understand that you want to save money on taxes but this will likely trigger a common law marriage)
  5. Keep separate finances: Do not share bank accounts or credit cards with your partner, and keep all financial records separate.
  6. Make your intentions clear: Have a conversation with your partner about your intentions and agree that you do not want to be considered married under common law in Texas.
  7. Have a written agreement: Consider creating a written agreement with your partner that explicitly states that you are not married under common law in Texas.

It is important to note that simply living apart from your partner for a certain amount of time does not automatically dissolve this type of marriage in Texas.

If all three elements of a common law marriage were present at some point, it may still be considered valid.

Be Proactive

So you need to take proactive steps to avoid establishing a common law marriage if that is your intention.

Give us a call here at Blizzard and Zimmerman Attorneys and schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our attorneys for legal help regarding marriage issues as well as for a cohabitation agreement, prenuptial agreement, divorce, or any family law-related matter. Our legal team will work their best to get you the best outcome for your legal matter.

Related information

Texas Law Library