Texas Requirements For A Common Law Marriage

inheritance disputes in Texas contesting a will heirship

Written by Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.

Texas Common-law Marriage

Texas recognizes common-law marriages or what Texas calls “Informal Marriages.” There are two different ways you can have an informal marriage:

  1. Agreeing to be married; living together in Texas after the agreement; and, representing to others that you are married; or,
  2. Signing a “Declaration of Marriage.

A person who claims a common law marriage must prove it. A proceeding to prove the informal marriage has a statute of limitations. The proceeding must be filed within certain time limits after the date of death of one of the spouses or within the time limits after the date the parties ceased living together as husband and wife. If a proceeding is not commenced within the statute of limitations, there is a rebuttable presumption that the parties did not have a common-law marriage. FC 2.401.

Once proven, a common-law spouse is treated the same as any other spouse in Texas.

In a 2019 case, a Declaration of Marriage was filed in 2015 saying that the parties had been married since 2010. If they were married in 2010, it would be too late to contest the marriage. If they were married in 2015, the man’s children could contest the marriage. The court ruled that there was no evidence that the parties held themselves out as husband and wife (representing to others that you are married) before 2015. The children contested the marriage of 2015 saying that he was not mentally competent to marry. The jury agreed with the children that he was not mentally competent. 13-17-00431-CV.

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Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases all across Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

Robert Ray is a Texas attorney who handles inheritance disputes

Why Us?

Inheritance disputes involve someone who has taken advantage of the elderly. These cases are complicated and most often, but not always, involve outsiders. We represent you knowing that these inheritance disputes are private and painful family matters. We know this is a stressful time for you. We strive to obtain the quickest and best results possible so that you can get this troubling episode behind you.

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