Marriage, Divorce, Children & Wills
What is a COMMON LAW marriage in Texas?
To have a common law marriage in Texas, the couple must:
(1) Agree to be married,
(2) Live together in Texas as husband and wife, and
(3) Tell other people that they are married.
Is there a way to get my common law marriage recognized?
A couple that wishes to formalize a common law marriage can file a Declaration of Marriage. To do this, the couple should get a form for filing a Declaration of Marriage, sign it, and file it with the County Clerk in the County where the couple lives.
If I am married by common law, and no longer want to be in the marriage, do I have to get a formal, legal divorce?
YES. There is no such thing as a common law divorce in Texas. Texas does not recognize common law divorces. It only recognizes common law marriages. Separating or living apart in a common law marriage is NOT the same thing as a divorce. Couples that do not legally end their common law marriage continue to be responsible for one another, each other’s finances, health decisions, etc., and they cannot marry other people.
Forms for Divorce
To get a divorce, what forms will I need?
1. Original Petition for Divorce – This form notifies the Court and your spouse that you wish to get divorced.
2. Answer to Original Petition – This is the form that notifies the Court and your spouse that you received a copy of their Original Petition and understand they want to get divorced. It is not an agreement or a denial. It is simply an acknowledgement to the Court that you understand your spouse wants a divorce.
3. Final Decree of Divorce – This is the final Order used by the Court to officially divorce you and your spouse. It can also order that one spouse’s name be changed to a “maiden” name or new name.
The Texas Supreme Court has created a packet with instructions and all the forms necessary to file an uncontested divorce, with no children and no titled land. Download the packet by clicking the link below.
The frequently asked questions below can help you better understand your rights as a parent under Texas law. For a free consultation and assistance, call the Attorney for Students at (512) 245-2370.