Common-law Marriages in Texas

In Texas, common-law marriage is referred to as an “Informal Marriage.” In order to obtain divorce for an Informal Marriage in Texas, the person who files for divorce must first prove that the spouses are actually informally married.

There are two ways to prove an informal marriage:

  1. By providing a certified copy of a Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage:

    If you have officially filed this document with the county clerk, with both spouses agreeing that you are informally married, a copy of this document is sufficient to get a divorce in Texas.
  2. By proving you have lived together, agreed to be married, and have held yourselves out to others as being married:

    It is much more difficult to prove an informal marriage by these means. You must provide the court physical proof that you have been living together. Additionally, you must provide physical proof that you have agreed to be married and that you have held yourself out to others as married. This would be documentation such as leases, contracts, testimony of witnesses, etc. that show that you have called each other husband and wife, signed your name as Mr. and Mrs., referred to each other as “my husband,” and “my wife,” etc.

Additionally, Texas does not recognize an informal marriage if either spouse is under the age of 18.