1. Do you have a putuative marriage?
A putuative marriage is a marriage entered into in good faith by one of the parties but is invalid because of some legal impediment. The most common legal impediment to a marriage is an earlier undissolved marriage. Although the marriage in this circumstance is void, Texas law protects the innocent spouse by making the marriage putative.
2. Was the marriage entered into in good faith?
Good faith is an essential element of a putative marriage. Good faith means a bona fide belief that the parties can marry lawfully or were married lawfully. If the spouse becomes aware of the legal impediment, then the question of good faith becomes how reasonable is it for the spouse to ignore the information and not investigate further.
Legal effects of the putative marriage.
A putative spouse has the rights of a lawful spouse in property acquired during the relationship. In other words, the putative spouse as community-property rights for the duration of the putative marriage. Thus, once the putuative marriage ends, the spouse is entitled to a just and right division of the community property acquired during the putative marriage.