I would like to know if my mom is considered common law married if she has been living under the same roof with the same man for 30 plus years?

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I would like to know if my mom is considered common law married if she has been living under the same roof with the same man for 30 plus years?

My mother and “stepdad” live in a state that recognizes common law marriage. They both consider each other as husband and wife, my sisters and I call him dad, we say he is our stepdad to others, people view them as married and he and she both introduce each other as such. They have never signed any legal paperwork stating they are common law married. So, even though to everyone we know they are married, are they considered common law married and does that hold the same respect as legally married if so?

Asked on October 2, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Not every state recognizes common law marriages.... but Texas does.  There are three general requirements to qualify.  The first is cohabitation--- which they have met since they have lived together for 30 plus years.  (There is actually no time limit on how long they have to live together).  The second is that they must hold each other out to be married.  They have met this requirement since they have introduced each other as husband and wife.  The third requirement is that they agree to be married.  Most people don't just sit down and say "Hey, let's be husband and wife today, okay?"  Instead, it usually just develops over the course of time.  Considering that they have held themselves out to be married would be evidence of their intent.  Other evidence would be filing taxes together as a married couple or purchasing property together as a married couple.  These are just a couple of examples, but you can get the idea that the documents indicate an agreement.  If the three requirements have been met, then the marriage is as valid and legally binding as any other formal marriage in front of a preacher or JP.


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