Is it difficult to prove common law marriage?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it difficult to prove common law marriage?

I was living with an ex fianc for about 8 months and decided to separate. Well things turned sour very

quickly. He has damaged my home and stolen personal items. He refuses to leave my home and

now I’m in an eviction process. During this process he has claimed we are common law and will take

half of my home. We do not have anything under both our names leases, tax returns, loans I have

never introduced him to others as my spouse and never have agreed to marry him. He thinks that he knows the law and is now claiming me as a wife. He has gone to the extent of adding me as an authorized user to his credit cards and adding me on utility bills as

Asked on July 10, 2017 under Family Law, Texas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

To prove a common law marriage, he has to prove (1) that you lived together AND (2) that you agreed to be married AND (3) that you held yourselves out to be married.  He cannot unilaterally decide that you are married.  If there was no 'meeting of the minds' to actually be married, then he will not be able to prove all three elements of a common law marriage.  It is not sufficient for him to simply prove that you lived together.
However, I still recommend that you hire an attorney to assist you because he is engaging in some particularly odd behavior by adding your name to his accounts.  This is not the usual behavior of someone who gets that you are an 'ex-' not a current girlfriend. An attorney can send him a cease and desist letter, basically breaking the news to him that it's really, really quit the stupid stuff.  The other advantage is that he if hears it from a third party, rather than you.  If your ex- really is nutty, it will deflect some of the pressure to the attorney and off of you.
An attorney can also assist you with these creditors and demand your removal from any of these accounts.
If he continues to use your identity, you may need to fine criminal charges for fraudulent use of identifying information, fraud, and harassment.  If he engages in any threatening behavior, then you may need to see a restraining order or protective order for your safety.
I'm not trying to scare you, but some of his behaviors seem very off and I want you to know that you have a wide range of options.  General demand letters often do the trick...but sometimes you need a more aggressive remedy when dealing with people with mental health issues.

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 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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