Houston, TX asked in Divorce and Family Law for Texas

Q: I have the following question regarding the Common Law Marriage in Texas and please provide me with the case law.

Could someone please clarify the following Texas Family Code - FAM § 2.401. Proof of Informal Marriage ?

(2) the man and woman agreed to be married and after the (agreement) they lived together in this state as husband and wife and there represented to others that they were married.

The (agreement) in parenthesis between man and woman, does it refer to an understanding or a written or verbal agreement between man and a woman? would just the verbal agreement between man and woman be accptable and if so what is the legal precedent for that, thank you.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Robert Allen Thornton
Robert Allen Thornton
  • Dallas, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Two people can enter into a written agreement to be married. This, of course, would be conclusive, that is to say, would leave no doubt. Other than that, the agreement can be verbal. But, there does not have to be an actual formal conversation. To prove a common law marriage using this statute, the one who wants to prove it, would use evidence of things said and done over the years. Take, for example, a letter, or an email which says happy birthday to my beloved wife. Add to that a response that says, oh honey your the best husband ever. As opposed to "wife, who you are calling wife?" Picture a bucket. To prove up the agreement, you need to fill that bucket up with as much as you can, using evidence of behaviors and acquiescence to that behavior...over time.

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