Texas recognizes common law marriages. To have a common law marriage, the parties must have agreed to be married, must have lived together as spouses after that agreement, and presented themselves as married. When most people think of common law marriages, they consider couples who were never formally married. However, in a recent case, a man sought a Texas divorce from his ex-wife, alleging there was a common law marriage after their original divorce.
The parties married in 2000 and divorced in 2005. They lived together until at least 2006 and had children together in 2006 and 2007. They worked together. Although they agreed that the relationship changed in 2012, they did not agree as to what happened later. The husband claimed they moved back in together by the end of 2013 and continued their relationship until late 2014.
The husband filed for divorce in 2015. The wife moved for summary judgment on the grounds that they were not married. She argued they did not meet the requirements of a common law marriage. She offered affidavits the parties signed in 2013 indicating they were not married, did not live together, and had not held themselves out as married. In her deposition, she had denied living with the husband. She also pointed out the husband was unable identify the exact date of an agreement to be married. She also relied on documents in which the husband indicated he was divorced and not married, including a bankruptcy petition filed under oath.