The Pros and Cons of Common-Law Marriage
Two types of marriages are recognized in the state of Texas. One is the traditional ceremonial marriage, which requires you to get a marriage license and participate in an actual ceremony. The other is informal marriage, or common law, and is when two people live together and claim to be husband and wife even though neither has obtained a marriage license or stood in front of a priest or judge to “make it official.”
Most people tend to go for the ceremonial option, but there are plenty of couples who are in long-term relationships and ultimately choose the common-law marriage route. Some of the reasons couples might choose this path include:
- They don’t want to go through the formalities of a wedding ceremony
- They want to save money
- Texas recognizes common-law marriage, so why not?
That last point is true but certainly not a given. While you can enjoy many of the same benefits as legally married couples do, being recognized as a common-law couple in Texas requires both parties prove they are in an informal marriage.
That’s easier said than done when there’s no legal paperwork. Couples who are in an informal or common-law marriage can complete and sign what’s called a Declaration of Informal Marriage with the county clerk where they live as an alternative way to have at least a sworn statement in place that the marriage exists. But if you don’t fill that out, or can’t prove a marriage exists, things can get extremely complicated in the event you want to get divorced, your partner denies the existence of an informal marriage, or your significant other dies. In some cases, you may be left with no recourse.
Some of the potential ramifications include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulties determining child custody, alimony, and child-support payments
- Visitation rights
- Issues involving property division
- Loss of right of survivorship
Call Nelson Law Group Today!!
If you decide common-law marriage is the best option for your relationship, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. It is also a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your situation. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this – or any other – issue. Our staff is always available.
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