Even if You Never Had a Formal Marriage, You Might Still Need a Divorce
Common-law marriage is a relatively unique legal concept that is not even recognized in many states throughout the country. However, Texas is one of the few states where couples can take advantage of the various benefits of being married to each other without ever formalizing their relationship through ceremonies or a visit to the courthouse. At Davis, Ermis & Roberts P.C. in Arlington, TX, our team of legal professionals understands how complicated it can be to navigate the process of ending a relationship, especially when shared assets are involved.
Common-Law marriage can make it easier and more affordable for couples to enjoy the benefits of married life without the cost or complexity of any traditional wedding services or gatherings. However, the same law can complicate your situation when your relationship ends, forcing you to get divorced rather than simply moving on with your lives separately.
Even if you and your spouse have never been married and do not have a marriage certificate, it is technically possible to become a wedded couple according to generally accepted standards for a common-law marriage. Knowing the situation in which a relationship changes from informal to normal marriages in Texas can help you determine what steps to take at the end of that relationship.
Understanding the Basic Conditions for Common-Law Marriage
At the most basic level, a common-law marriage under typical standards is an agreement to live as a married couple between two individuals who have never asked the state of Texas to agree to this union. Unofficially, using the same last name or making friends with your people in your community as a couple may be enough to consider yourselves married.
If your family and neighbors consider you as partners, technically you have been married. Likewise, this is sufficient reason for the state to accept the marriage if you file taxes jointly or if you submit a marriage declaration to provide health insurance benefits provided by an employer.
If one or both of the divorce parties decide to terminate the relationship, the divorce process may be needed and the assets obtained during the relationship could be separated by the court. Although this may seem like an unnecessary disturbance to the relationship, it also protects those who might be taken advantage of by someone who wants to avoid financial and ethical obligations to their significant other by claiming they were never officially married.
What is NOT a Common-Law Marriage?
There are situations that people think are a common-law marriage that do not have a real legal impact on their marital status. If you share a bank account, have children together, live together for less than a specific period, or even buy a house together, the couple may not be considered a married couple under Texas common-law statutes.
A common-law marriage can benefit people in a relationship by extending certain social and financial security to those who may be at risk at the end of the relationship. If you need protection in a common-law divorce or have provided the necessary formal documentation to start the process, you may want to handle the situation in the same way as a traditional divorce.
Trust Davis, Ermis & Roberts P.C. in Arlington, Texas to Support You
If you’re facing the end of a relationship, and you’re concerned about whether or not you’ve been engaged in a common-law marriage, then the last thing you should be doing is struggling to try and get a full grasp of the situation entirely alone. Instead of spending hours upon hours researching different information sources online, your best option is to contact our team of experienced legal professionals as quickly as possible so we can start working with you on the separation and potential divorce process. As a team of talented experts that has been working with residents of the DFW Metroplex for years, we’re always ready to answer your questions and help you make the best possible choices for your specific situation and needs.