Will my husband be allowed to put me out of the apartment?

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Will my husband be allowed to put me out of the apartment?

My husband and I are common law married (we fit all the criteria – have lived together for 3 years,.share same savings account, on the same insurance plan, call each other husband and wife, even on work documents we are listed as each others husband/wife). He recently cheated and then the next day left the country for a family emergency and left me with no money (as I am currently unemployed). He will not return phone calls or e-mails. I am not on the lease agreement for this apartment, however, I have lived here with him for 2 years. Will he be able to come home and put me out?

Asked on September 26, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The quick answer is maybe......There are three components to a common law marriage:  1.  An intent or agreement to be married, 2.  A holding out of marriage (you tell other people you are) and 3.  Cohabitation.  I only mention this since you didn’t mention the intent/agreement part in your question.  Assuming that you are common law married, then community property rules apply.  This means that if he used income which he earned while you were married to lease the apartment, then you are entitled to use of the apartment.  This also means that you incur part of the debt of the apartment.  If he wants you out, then he will need to file for a divorce and get an order (either permanent or temporary), that grants him exclusive use of the apartment.  If he leaves, (instead of putting you out), then you can be held liable for the bills associated with the apartment.    If he’s leaving the country, not returning your phone calls, and not giving you any money—there’s a strong possibility he’s not coming back.  Instead of worrying about him putting you out, you may need to worry about the landlord putting you out for non-payment. 

You also need to keep in mind that he may not consider himself married to you—which makes this answer a bit more complicated.  He may agree that the two of you cohabitated and talked strongly about marriage--- but that he never agreed to be married.  If this is his position, he may tell the landlord that he is leaving the apartment and cancel his lease, with no notice to you, because you are not on the lease.  You mention that you were together three+ years and in this apartment for two years—but you were not on the lease.  This will be his evidence that he did not intend to marry you.  You may have to file for divorce and prove the marriage before you can exercise the usually privileges of marriage.  Several variables can affect what is the best direction for your situtation.  You should consult with a family law attorney to see which direction is best for your situation.  If you have absolutely no money, look up legal aid organizations in your area.  Most offer services in the area of family law. 


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