Waco Family Law
Texas recognizes two types of marriage: ceremonial and common law. Texas specifically defines a marriage as between one man and one
woman. However in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 decision, in the Obergefell v. Hodges
case, legalized gay marriage throughout
the country. A ceremonial marriage is one peformed in a church or other place by a religious figure or judicial figure. A common
law marriage is recognized if the man and woman (or possibly man and man or woman and woman although the Texas statute refers only
to "man and woman"): 1. agree to be married, 2. hold themselves out as husband and wife (also called "holding out"), and 3. cohabitate.
Contrary to popular belief, living together does not in and of itself create a common law marriage without the other two elements
nor is there a time limit after which you become "common law married." Texas law adds a provision that says if a common law married
couple does not file for a divorce after two years of separation, they are presumed to not have been married. Because a marriage can
only be ended by death or court action (divorce or annulment), once you have established a common law marriage, it is probably the
correct practice to file for divorce, no matter how many years of separation occur.
See Texas Family Code Section 2.401
Please realize the information contained on this web site should not be construed as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between us. It is simply here as a means for me to provide you some basic information for you to use when deciding on whether or not you need to hire an attorney. Because each case is different, it would be impossible for us to provide legal advice on a web site.
Gary Cunha, P.C., Attorney and Counselor at Law
P.O. Box 518, Hewitt, TX 76643