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What are the laws regarding common law marriage in the state of TX, does TX recognize common law marriage

Sweeny, TX |

If I lived w/ my fiance for 2 years (in TX) and filed a tax return jointly w/ him. Does that make us common law married? We broke up about 4 years ago, would we be required to get a divorce?

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Attorney answers 1


Yes, Texas has common law marriage. But since you have been broken up for more than two years, there is a "rebuttable presumption" that you never agreed to be married. You may want to talk to a family lawyer about your particular circumstances and whether it would be to anyone's benefit to prove you actually WERE married. That's pretty unlikely. Here's the statute, if you are curious, from the Texas Family Code:

Sec. 2.401. PROOF OF INFORMAL MARRIAGE. (a) In a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, the marriage of a man and woman may be proved by evidence that:

(1) a declaration of their marriage has been signed as provided by this subchapter; or

(2) the man and woman agreed to be married and after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife and there represented to others that they were married.

(b) If a proceeding in which a marriage is to be proved as provided by Subsection (a)(2) is not commenced before the second anniversary of the date on which the parties separated and ceased living together, it is rebuttably presumed that the parties did not enter into an agreement to be married.

(c) A person under 18 years of age may not:

(1) be a party to an informal marriage; or

(2) execute a declaration of informal marriage under Section 2.402.

(d) A person may not be a party to an informal marriage or execute a declaration of an informal marriage if the person is presently married to a person who is not the other party to the informal marriage or declaration of an informal marriage, as applicable.

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