Is my marriage legal if I may have not met the waiting period for re-marriage?

I divorced my first husband and 2 weeks later got married to my current husband. I left the court with signed and dated documents. I know I jumped the gun a bit. What do I do?

Asked on October 13, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should have waited at least a month before getting remarried, which means that you technically have a voidable formal marriage.  This means that you are still married, but subject to being declared void or invalid at a later date.  If you want to have a legal, formal marriage, then you may want to arrange a simple second ceremony with a JP to make everything kosher.  However, even if you don't do that, you'll still be okay since Texas recognizes informal marriages, known as common law marriages.  A common law marriage does not require a license or a formal ceremony, only cohabitation, an agreement to be married, and a holding out of the marriage (i.e. you tell other people that you're married.)  Some spouses have tried to void marriages because of the waiting period rule, only to be denied because Texas does recognized common law marriages. (Essentially the court rules that even though the formal marriage fell through, you publicly announced that you were married... so good enough) Considering this, you may or may not want to take the suggested extra step of going through a legal formal marriage, but it can make a difference if you ever do decide to file for a divorce.  Property accrued during the marriage is considered community property.  The consistent issue with common law marriages is deciding when the marriage actually began so that they acquired property is community property-- instead of separate property.  Legal marriages have an advantage in this respect because there it results in a formal document declaring when the marriage began. 


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