Informal (“Common Law”) Marriage in Texas

The law in Texas for informal marriages, also known as common law marriages can be very complex and involve a large amount of investigation by the parties disputing the marriage. This dispute can often arise when a family member has deceased and a widow is claiming an informal marriage exists.

The proof requirements for an informal marriage are listed under section 2.401 of the Texas Family Code. Subsection (A)(1) says an informal marriage can be proved via a signed declaration as provided by the Family Code. Under subsection (A)(2):

“an informal marriage also exists without a formal signed declaration of marriage, if 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.”

Subsection (A)(2) of the informal marriage requirements requires a subjective proof of agreement between the parties (“man and woman agreed to be married”), a proof of cohabitation within Texas (“after agreement they lived together in the state”), and a proof of objective existence of the marriage (represented to others that they were married).



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