Houston, TX, Common Law Divorce
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Texas is one of the few states that still recognize common law marriage, which is a union entered into without ceremony or license. Once established, a common law marriage is just as valid and binding as a formal wedding and marriage, which is why those who are in such a partnership must go through divorce proceedings if they would like to be legally separated from each other.
To get started on your case, contact us at (281) 810-9760 today!
Filing for a Common Law Divorce
Typically, the less you shared together, the easier getting a divorce will be. For example, children, property, and debt will both complicate the process of separation. Texas offers couples the option of getting “regular” divorces to address these issues. The steps are very similar to the average divorce; however, you must first determine whether you really do have a common law marriage, also known as an informal marriage.
If you and your spouse remain apart for 2 years without taking any legal action to end the marriage, the law presumes a marriage never existed. However, this presumption is rebuttable if evidence is presented.
Another option, if you only have children and no property or debts, you can file what Texas calls a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, which can resolve the issues of custody, parenting time, and child support.
Criteria for a Common Law Marriage Include the Following:
- A declaration of marriage was signed by the couple and registered with a county clerk
- The couple agreed to be married and lived together as spouses, representing to others that they were married
- Neither of the spouses was underage
- Neither of the spouses was married to another person
To file for divorce, you can download a petition for divorce from your Texas county website. Complete the appropriate petition, which will ask you to tell the court about your children, property, and debts. When the form asks you for your date of marriage, enter the date when you and your spouse began living together as spouses and note your marriage is informal. File your petition with the district court in the county where you have lived, or your spouse has lived, for at least 3 months. Ask the clerk for a citation. A citation is a 1-page document informing your husband or wife you have filed for divorce and how long he or she has to respond to your petition. Serve your spouse with the citation and a copy of your filed petition. You can hire a private process server to deliver it to your partner, or ask a sheriff or constable in your county to do it for you. If you use a private process server, he or she will return an affidavit of service to you, which you will have to file with the court.
Let Us Help You Through This
Filing for divorce can sometimes be quick and simple if your spouse agrees with your submitted petition. However, if he or she does not agree, you will likely need to enter into negotiations or even litigation with them. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to give our skilled Houston, TX, family law attorneys a call. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC has years of experience helping people with various family law matters. We understand that this may be an extremely stressful situation for you and your family. Let us see how we can best assist you in your case.
Contact us at (281) 810-9760 to schedule your free consultation today.