Common-Law

Divorce

Modern life can lend itself to less formal marital arrangements and in the State of Texas, a common-law marriage has the same value as a formal marriage in the eyes of the law.


If you have separated with your partner and believe you have a common-law marriage, 

then contact us for a consultation.

About Common-Law Divorce

What is a "Common-Law Marriage"?


A common-law marriage (also known as an "informal marriage") is a marriage without an official ceremony or formal matrimonies. In the State of Texas, a common-law marriage occurs when each of the three following conditions occur at the same time: 1. Cohabitation - you and your partner live together.
2. A Meeting of the Minds - you and your partner agree that you are married.
3. Holding Out - you and your partner hold yourselves out as married to others. Contrary to popular belief, the length of the relationship is not a condition of a common-law marriage.




What are some examples of holding ourselves out as married?


Proof of holding yourselves out as married can be any of the following: - Listing your partner as your spouse on any documentation, for example:
• Joint Tax Return (IRS) • Mail • Travel Tickets
• Insurance Policies
• Car Loans
• Utility Bills
• Mortgages
• Club Memberships
- Purchase and use of a wedding band - not to be confused with an engagement ring which is only a promise to get married at a future date.

- Testimony from a third-party witness – perhaps a family member, friend, colleague, teacher or club member – who can testify as to his or her personal impression and belief that you and your partner are holding yourselves out to others as husband and wife.




What services do you provide?


If you and your spouse have separated and agree that there has been a common-law marriage, then we can help you with our Uncontested Divorce legal services. If, on the other hand, you and your partner can't agree to the existence of a common-law marriage, then we can discuss your options in more detail over a free 30 minute consultation.




How does a common-law divorce differ from a regular divorce?


Once a common-law marriage has been established, there is almost no difference between a common-law divorce and a regular divorce. As with a regular divorce in the State of Texas there is still a sixty (60) day mandatory cooling-off period that needs to be observed before the divorce can be finalized.
Should your partner contest the existence of a common-law marriage, then the ultimate question of whether or not there is a marriage can be answered by either a judge or a jury at trial.





Lauren Carrington Smyth

Managing Partner

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Carrington Smyth PLLC is licensed to practice law in Texas (2005), Washington, D.C. (2006) and England & Wales (2011).

 

Principal Law Office based in San Antonio, Texas

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