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Myths of Common Law Marriage

By: Kelly Rizzo

Worried about moving in with your boyfriend because you’re afraid you might be considered common law married? It takes more to create a common law marriage than just living together. On the other hand, once you are common law married, simply breaking up does not bring the common law marriage to an end.

There are three requirements to establish a common law marriage: the couple has to intend to be married, they have to tell other people that they’re married, and they have to live together. If they do all three of these things, they are common law married and enjoy the same rights and duties as any other married couple. They can also fill out a “Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage” form and file it with the county clerk as proof that they are in a common-law marriage.

If a common law marriage ends, it is important to file for divorce within two years to resolve property and support issues like a married couple. If a divorce is not filed within two years, there is a presumption that the couple never intended to be married.

Cindy Diggs, Board Certified in Family Law and Civil Trial Law, Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler 5300 Memorial Drive, Suite 900, Houston, Texas 77007, 713.802.1777. www.holmesdiggs.com

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