do i have to get a divorce if i got common law married while my spouse was in jail?

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do i have to get a divorce if i got common law married while my spouse was in jail?

I was living with my ex’s house while he was in jail and we signed a paper saying we car common law married and went about living our lives as we were married do I still need to get a divorce?

Asked on October 4, 2016 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Texas does recognize common law or informal marriages.  Generally, you can establish a common law marriage by three parts:  an agreement to be married, holding out or telling others that you are married, and co-habitation.  You can also fill out a form and file it with the county clerk declaring your informal marriage.  Your question is not clear whether or not you and he actually lived together... but if you did, then your case would clearly meet the requirements of a common law marriage.  If you filled out a form that was filed with the clerk, then you are considered common law married.
To get child support, you can do two different things:  (1) file for divorce and the divorce court will set child support or (2) file a custody suit and request the family law court to set child support.  You can combine the custody suit with the divorce action.  If your husband successfully challenges the existence of a marriage, then the divorce court will simply convert the divorce to a plain custody suit....and still set child support.
If you only want child support right now, the Texas Attorney General can assist with those services.  If you want to get the divorce started, consult with a family law attorney or local family law clinic to get the process started.


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