Austin, TX asked in Divorce and Family Law for Texas

Q: Which date do I put for my marriage on divorce paperwork?

Our small private ceremony in Texas with exchanged jewelry (anklet) & witnesses (not registered with state): 12/22/11.

Full cohabitation: 2/1/12.

Claimed common-law marriage on 2012 Texas taxes.

Wife finishing degree (no cohabitation during): 5/1/12 - 12/1/12 (Her primary address was still my address throughout this time.)

I moved to California: 7/1/12. (Her primary address moved with me.)

California courthouse ceremony with exchanged rings & 1 witness (because they don't accept common law marriages in California): 3/21/13.

We returned to Texas: 9/2/15.

Anklet did not come off since it went on. My ring was cut off to save my finger in 2016 and was not replaced. Her ring has stayed on up until 2 months ago, and has been on & off repeatedly since that point.

Children: 0 (I'm sterile)

Cats: 2

We agree on the division of our things, so the only detail of the divorce that is not straightforward is the initial date of the marriage.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Chad Zubi
Chad Zubi
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I would say that you can claim that you have been married since the 2011 date when you formed your intention to be married in Texas and lived together as a married couple. To have a common law marriage in Texas you must satisfy the three following elements:

(1) Agree to be married

(2) Live together as husband and wife in Texas, and

(3) Told others (hold yourselves out) that you are married

Your situation is interesting and various arguments could be made as to when you first lived together as husband and wife in Texas and of course the other elements.

Eric James Smith agrees with this answer

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