If a common law couple spits up, do they need to file for divorce?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If a common law couple spits up, do they need to file for divorce?

Would I need to file for a divorce if I filed married on my taxes for 4 years with

someone and we have children together? We were considered common law in our state.

Asked on September 20, 2016 under Family Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a common law marriage may be formed differently than a more "conventional" marriage--i.e. by how you act and hold yourself out, rather than by a marriage license--but it is still a marriage. If you were common law married, as you were based on what you write, rather than simply cohabitating, you need to divorce the same as any other married couple. You assumed a legal status or relationship; it needs to be ended by legal process.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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