Question from Ponita, What Are My Rights as a Common-Law Spouse in Texas?
Answer from AI:
In Texas, common-law marriage, also known as “informal marriage,” is recognized and can afford you certain rights similar to those of a spouse in a formal marriage. To establish a common-law marriage in Texas, you and your partner must meet the following criteria:
- Agree to be married.
- Live together in Texas as a couple.
- Represent to others that you are married.
If these conditions are met, you may have similar rights as spouses who have obtained a marriage license and had a ceremony. Here are some aspects to consider:
If you are in a recognized common-law marriage, you may have rights to property acquired during the relationship. Texas is a community property state, meaning that most property acquired during a marriage is considered jointly owned by both spouses. However, since the house was purchased by your boyfriend alone and is in his name, it may be considered his separate property unless you can prove your contribution or a mutual agreement regarding the property.
Being added as a “spouse” to your partner’s health insurance could be relevant as it may indicate that your partner represented to his employer that you were married, which could support your claim of a common-law marriage.
Regardless of marital status, both parents have rights and responsibilities towards their children. As the mother, you have parental rights, and if you separate, you may be entitled to child support.
Seeking Legal Advice
Determining your rights can be complex, especially when it comes to property and potential spousal support. It’s important to consult with a family law attorney to understand your situation better. An attorney can help you gather evidence of your common-law marriage and advise you on the best course of action.
Proof of Common-Law Marriage
To prove a common-law marriage, you may need to provide evidence such as:
- Joint bank account statements.
- Joint lease or mortgage documents.
- Affidavits from friends or family members who have heard you refer to each other as spouses.
- Insurance policies listing the other as a spouse or beneficiary.
If you decide to end the relationship, you may need to legally establish the existence of your common-law marriage to enforce your rights. This could involve filing a “Declaration of Informal Marriage” with the county clerk, if you haven’t already done so, or presenting your case in court.
For more information on common-law marriage in Texas, you can refer to the Texas Family Code, specifically Chapter 2.401 that addresses informal marriage.
Remember, this information is general in nature and should not be considered as legal advice. Each situation is unique, and laws can change over time. It’s crucial to seek personalized legal advice from a qualified attorney to understand your specific rights and options.