What are the laws of an informal marriage?

My Mother bought a house and then decided to get an informal marriage
certificate and decided to put the same date they bought the house as the date
that they considered they were married. Does the same laws from a traditional
marriage abide in an informal marriage?

Asked on April 13, 2017 under Family Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF your mother's "informal", or common law (common law is the better term) marriage is valid, she has the same rights (e.g. the same laws apply) as with a formal marriage. An "informal marriage certificate" is not necessary and in fact does not determine whether the relationship is considered to be a marriage or not. To be a common law marriage in Texas, three things are needed:
1) Both parties agree to be married.
2) They live together as husband and wife.
3) They "hold theselves out" as married--refer to themselves to others as husband and wife, tell others they are married, etc. (I.e. there are no "secret" common law marriages.)
If they meet the requirements above, TX would consider them to be married; if they do not, then thare not legally treated as or considered to be married.

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