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Common Law Marriage and Divorce

Currently, Texas is one of the 9 states that uphold common law marriage.

If you have lived with someone as husband and wife in a state that recognizes common law marriage and you now wish to end your relationship, you must file for divorce. There is no such thing as common law divorce. 

Common law marriages are subject to the same laws regarding the division of marital property as traditional divorces. 

When there is a disagreement between partners as to whether they are in a common law marriage, the court will look at how the parties behaved during their relationship. Filing joint taxes, joint bank accounts, including a partner on your insurance coverage, wearing rings, calling each other husband and wife, having children together, and using the same last name will make it more likely that a court will recognize the common law marriage as valid. 

The laws of the United States only allow a person to be married to one other individual at a time. If you choose to break up (not file for divorce) and remarry, your common law partner could seek to get any property you acquired since your break up because you were still legally married when you acquired it. 

If you are living with someone in a common law marriage state and do not intend to have your relationship turn into a marriage, you should: keep your property separate from their property; never call that person your spouse; file single taxes; and make it clear to others that you are not married.