New to the idea of marriage — Ceremonial and Informal

New to the idea of marriage — Ceremonial and Informal

I have talked — and written — at great length on the sanctity of marriage, and how serving my own family as a passionate husband and father has brought endless love and fulfillment into my life.

So if you, too, are considering getting married — congratulations. It is absolutely a step worth taking.

With that being said, there is so much that goes into getting married from a law perspective. States have the power to regulate its creation, and the various legislatures can enact laws defining who, when and under what circumstances you can marry.

Rather than hit you all at once with everything I know about marriage law, I have decided to break it down into bite-size pieces in a series of blogs that, truthfully, may have no end.

So let’s get started with the two “recognized” types of marriages in Texas — Ceremonial and Informal.

Ceremonial — How mom and dad got hitched
A ceremonial marriage is self-explanatory, and it is the most common form of marriage in Texas. Perhaps you remember seeing those marriage pictures of your parents or grandparents adorning the walls of your house — with your mom in the white dress — when you were growing up?

That’s what this is; It’s the traditional way, as they say.

To enter into a ceremonial marriage, you must get a marriage license from the county clerk and participate voluntarily in a marriage ceremony — in a church, on the beach, in Las Vegas, etc.

The following people can get a marriage license:
1. Adults
2. Minors with parental consent, court order or dissolved earlier marriage

Informal — Common-law marriage
This form of marriage gets a bit more complicated, but is still very common. In a nutshell, it involves two consenting adults who are living together in Texas and are willing to make it known to others that they are husband and wife — even though neither has formally obtained a marriage license and held a ceremony.

To be married by way of common law, you must prove:
1. Both parties have agreed to be married. The agreement can be a verbal or written agreement
2. Both parties live together as husband and wife — there is no rule for how long they must live together
3. Represent, or make it known, to others that you are husband and wife – an informal marriage cannot be a secret

To enter into an informal marriage, both parties must at least be 18 years of age, not related to one another, and not currently married to someone else. Minors cannot enter into a common-law marriage.

Just like a ceremonial marriage, informal marriages last until it is dissolved by death, divorce or annulment.

Stay tuned for the next blog from Nelson Law Group, as we dive deeper into this topic — and much more.

Thanks for visiting.