Ending a Common Law Marriage in Texas

Posted by brian on March 2, 2020
Common Law Divorce Round Rock

Ending a common law marriage is much like ending any marriage. Just because your marriage was entered into informally does not mean that its dissolution will be less tiring. If you are contemplating the end of your common law marriage, it’s important to understand the basics and to work closely with an experienced Cedar Park divorce attorney.

Common Law Marriage

People sometimes wonder whether their relationships qualify as common law marriages or not. A common law marriage is a legal marriage that is entered into without the formalities of having a ceremony or signing a marriage certificate, but certain legalities must be met. These include all of the following:

  • Neither of you can already be married – legally or by common law – to anyone else at the time the common law marriage in question was entered into.
  • Both of you must have been at least 18 years old when you entered into the common law marriage.
  • Both of you must have agreed to be married to one another.
  • You must have lived in the State of Texas as a married couple after you entered into the common law marriage.
  • You must have presented yourselves to others as a married couple.

If all of these requirements apply to your relationship, you are in a common law marriage.

Common Law Marriage and Divorce

If you are preparing to end your common law marriage, you will go about it much as you would if you had a traditional marriage. This involves addressing the basic components of divorce, which include:


  • Issues related to child custody arrangements
  • Issues related to the division of marital property
  • The determination of child support
  • The determination of alimony (or spousal support)


Child Custody Arrangements and Child Support

Generally, one parent becomes the primary custodial parent with whom the children primarily live, and the other parent has a visitation schedule (and pays child support to the primary custodial parent). Except in extreme situations, both parents typically retain legal custody, which means that they both participate in making important decisions related to the children’s education, health care, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing.

The Division of Marital Property

The property that you acquired together as a couple engaged in a common law marriage is considered marital property – regardless of who purchased it. In a Texas divorce, this marital property is divided in a manner that is just and right (what the court considers fair) rather than equally.


Alimony – or spousal support – is by no means a given, and it is most common in marriages of long duration and marriages in which specific circumstances are present. For example, if you gave up your career to bolster your common law spouse’s career, the court may award you alimony.

If Your Common Law Marriage Is Ending, an Experienced Cedar Park Divorce Attorney Can Help

When a common law divorce ends, the legal process is just as arduous as it is for traditional marriages. The dedicated divorce attorneys at The Jackson Law Firm in Cedar Park, Texas, are committed to protecting your rights and to skillfully advocating for your case’s most positive resolution. To schedule a free initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (512) 528-1900 today.


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