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Divorce required to end common law marriage in Texas

The recent news of unmarried Iggy Azalea being served with divorce papers might have some of our Texas readers wondering exactly how that can happen. While most people assume you can't get divorced unless you were married, that isn't the case in Texas. Common law marriage is one of the interesting options when it comes to relationships in Texas.

In a common law marriage, two people live as spouses but never have the formal marriage ceremony that traditionally married people have. In Texas, establishing a common law marriage provides the couple a marriage that has the same protections as a regular licensed marriage. This includes the right to child custody and property division if the relationship dissolves.

That brings up an interesting point about common law marriage. When a common law marriage is over, the couple has to go through a divorce. That divorce process is the exact same one as a the one necessary to dissolve a licensed marriage.

In order to establish a common law marriage, three conditions have to be me. Both parties have to agree to be married. The couple has to represent their relationship as a marriage, meaning they tell people they are married or act as a married couple to obtain credit, lease a home, or do similar actions. The couple must establish a home together where they live as a married couple.

For people in a common law marriage, working through the legal processes of divorce can be a challenge. Knowing the laws regarding child custody, child support, property division, and any other aspects of the divorce might help you as you move through the process of dissolving the common law marriage.

Source: Travis County, "Common Law Marriage" Oct. 29, 2014

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