My brother has been with an older lady for 18 years. They moved in and declared they were husband and wife around 2008. Since older, no need for ceremony. Besides would cost more because of additional taxes and less benefits for Ken, who is disabled. Ken was diagnosed as manic depressant about 4 -5 years ago. However, has been unemployed for more than 10 years.
Cathy is 75 years old and still is employed at UTA as a librarian’s assistant. She owns her own home and is almost debt free. She is looking at retirement and told Ken (59) that she would like to travel and have someone to do that with when she retires. Since Ken’s medication makes him sleep most of the day, she asked him to move out.
What type of recourse does Ken have. He collects disability and has health benefits. He is unemployed and has only clothes and few items as assets. Is he entitled to any belongings or spousal support?
Forgive me, but you (your brother) cannot have it both ways. Being with someone for any length of time is living together (some use the crude expression of shacking), not marriage. You go on to say they declared they were husband and wife around 2008. How so? Evidenced by what? You say "no need for ceremony, besides would cost more because of additional taxes and less benefits for Ken." That sounds to me as though did not choose to be married because marriage would be a penalty to them.. Common law marriage is agreeing the persons are married, holding out as married and cohabiting as married in Texas thereafter. It takes all 3 and it takes proof. If they were married and wanted to split, one would file a divorce. Yes in a divorce temporary spousal support can be plead and proved. In your scenario I am guessing Ken will say they were married though marriage would have been bad for his disability benefits, but now marriage would allow him to seek support from Cathy. I am guessing Cathy will not want to say they were or are married. Ken needs to talk to family law counsel. The first thing I ask when presented a common law marriage is how they filed federal income taxes. If they filed not married, that is pretty strong. It is not definitive but it is close.
Thomas J. Baker of Baker & Tisdale PLLC principally practices in the Central Texas area, including Bell, Coryell, McLennan, Milam and Williamson counties. The advice given here is not and ahould not be taken as a substitute for in-personal consultation with counsel, particularly where legal documents, such as court orders need to be reviewed. I am Board-Certified in Family Law but not in any other areas of practice.
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