Texas Marriage

Texas Marriage Laws

Marriage Laws in Texas


Question: How long must I wait to remarry after my divorce in Texas? 

Answer:  Unless the Court grants a special request, generally, you must wait 30 days after a divorce is granted to marry.

Question: We’ve been living together for a while now. Am I “Common Law” married?

Answer: Common law marriage is established by proof that you have cohabited (lived together), represented to others that you are married and had an agreement to be married. The agreement can be inferred from the other two elements. Texas Family Code section 2.401.

Common law marriage, otherwise known as informal marriage, may also be established by filing a sworn declaration of and registration of informal marriage with the County Clerk of your county, pursuant to Texas Family Code 2.402.

There is a rebuttable presumption of no marriage unless a suit is commenced to prove the marriage before the second anniversary that the parties “separated and ceased living together”.

Question: If I have a common law marriage, how do I prove marital property rights if my spouse dies?

Answer:  If the spouse were to die, you would have to prove the marriage. Common law marriage is established by proof that you have cohabited (lived together), represented to others that you are married and had an agreement to be married. The agreement can be inferred from the other two elements. Texas Family Code section 2.401.

There is a rebuttable presumption of no marriage unless a suit is commenced to prove the marriage before the second anniversary that the parties “separated and ceased living together”. Then, as a surviving spouse, you would have a homestead right to remain in the house as long as you please, as long as you maintain the taxes, mortgage payments, and payments on construction improvements. Texas Estates Code sections 102.002 and 102.004.

If you divorce the spouse, you would also have to prove the marriage, and then the character of any property, meaning separate or community property character, would matter.

Question: How can my common law spouse and I establish that we have been married for a long time?

Answer: You and your spouse may go to the local County clerk and file a Declaration of Informal Marriage. This document allows you to declare your marriage as of a particular date. The filing fee varies by county. There may be other documents you should draft to meet your needs as a married couple, such as a will, or various powers of attorney.

Question: What are the rules for common law marriage in Texas?

Answer: Common law marriage is established by proof that you have cohabited (lived together), represented to others that you are married and had an agreement to be married. The agreement can be inferred from the other two elements. Texas Family Code section 2.401. There is a rebuttable presumption of no marriage unless a suit is commenced to prove the marriage before the second anniversary that the parties “separated and ceased living together”.

Question: How many years must we live together before we are common law married?

Answer: There is no statutory length of time, and it does not have to be years, or even one year.

Question: What are the initial considerations in drafting a prenuptial agreement?

Answer: Generally the situation dictates that the best scenario involves both parties being represented by counsel. Full financial disclosure, of assets and liabilities, is an absolute necessity. Then the parties must decide how much community property they plan to accumulate during marriage.

Additionally, in a prenuptial agreement, the parties may negotiate property distribution in the event of death or divorce.