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Am I considered common law? And if so what are my Legal Rights towards a divorce?

Midland, TX |

I have been with my other half for 14 yrs, living together, sharing bills, checking accounts..just a year ago...he started a affair with a Russian student (Non-American immigrant, half his age holding onto a school visa)....he states we NEVER were married and he demands now that I walk out the door taking nothing...I do have witnesses that can vouch that he has referred me as his fiance' (even have the ring)..his wife...his spouse...his other half. we have a house that he bought for the two of us and our daughter...and I have purchased everything furniture wise in the house with my income tax returns over the years..and have contributed bills, groceries and vacations..what are my rights ?..I want a divorce....Do I have legal rights here?

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Attorney answers 4


Sounds like you are married by common law based on these facts. Go in person and consult with a divorce attorney ASAP.

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For the elements to be met the couple must:
Cohabitate (live together),
Hold out as man & wife (call each other wife, husband to third parties), AND INTEND to be married.  
Please consult a Family attorney in your local area. Many, like myself, give a free initial consult and can give you clearer guidance based on all the specific facts of your case. You need someone to help you protect your assets.

This answer is general information which does not establish any attorney-client relationship between the person asking a question and the person answering, or a duty to respond to ongoing questions; nor is it intended to replace competent legal assistance in the jurisdiction where the matter/issue arises or is before a Court.



we have so cohabitated for 14 yrs, sharing all bills, checking accounts together...I have witnesses claiming he has referred me as his other half, wife, fiancé....and just recently he moved the community money out of the checking account into a new banking account...freezing me from financial gain to an attorney..or to file for divorce...what can be done about this?


The facts you list tend to support a common law marriage. But you need to hire an attorney to protect your rights as well as pursue a divorce if in fact you are married.


Everybody calls it "common law" marriage, but technically in Texas it is known as "marriage without formalities."

The requirements as the previous attorney stated are that:
1. You live together with your spouse
2. You hold yourselves out to others as married
3. You had an agreement to married, you intended it

There are multiple ways to show these things to be true including filing joint tax returns naming the other as a spouse. Sometimes couples will have old cards from flowers or birthdays that are signed "Your loving husband," etc. These combined can create a marriage, and create legal rights and duties for both spouses in regards to property acquired during the marriage.

Any answers posted to questions posed as hypothetical or with specific fact, do not create an attorney-client relationship.