Top Houston Family Law Firm Busby & Associates Continues Educational Campaign, Explains Common Law Marriage and Divorce in Texas

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  • Top Houston Family Law Firm Busby & Associates Continues Educational Campaign, Explains Common Law Marriage and Divorce in Texas

Continuing Information Campaign to Empower the Public, the Firm Outlines Distinctions between an Often Confusing Concept

PRESS RELEASE- For Immediate Release
October 1, 2007

HOUSTON – The legal definition of common law marriage varies from state to state and corresponding confusion swirls around it and that which defines it. That is why Busby & Associates, a leading family law firm in Houston is determined as part of their educational campaign to address this often-confusing concept.

The partners explain that while there are many distinctions between a formal marriage and an informal, or common law, marriage, those of a common law marriage are not as commonly understood. The most distinct differences of a common law marriage include:

•Common law marriages do not require the license that a formal marriage does.
•Common law marriages are not necessarily solemnized, while either a governmental or religious official performs formal marriages.
•There is no public record of a common law marriage, such as a marriage certificate.
•There is a cohabitation requirement but fulfilling that requirement alone does not make a common law marriage. The couple must also hold and present themselves as married.
•Depending on the jurisdiction, the couple must have cohabited for a minimum length of time.

The partners further explained that that which constitutes a common law marriage in Texas includes:

•A man and a woman that have an agreement to be married.
•A couple that has cohabited or lived together (overnight may be sufficient).
•A couple that has held itself as married.

“Alternatively, a common law marriage can become official if the couple files a sworn certificate of informal marriage,” said Partner Ricardo Contreras.

“Those recognizing common law marriages by contract include Alabama, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah,” Associates added.

The partners explained that the dissolution of a common law marriage might occur through a formal divorce. This is generally advisable if the couple has had children or has acquired substantial assets together, because both partners are responsible for debts as well as the care and support of the children. Though, if either partner does not commence a proceeding to prove the existence of their common law marriage within two years of the end of their cohabitive relationship, there is a rebuttable presumption that the marriage never existed.

And if a couple has a common law marriage in Texas but later moves to another state, they must obtain a divorce in the new state of residence to dissolve the marriage – even if that state does not recognize common law marriages.

Busby & Associates is a full-service family law firm which works on adoptions, Attorney General and child support cases, CPS cases, contempt actions, contested and uncontested divorces, military divorces, modifications of visitation and custody orders, motions to terminate wage orders, paternity cases, and protective/temporary restraining orders. To learn more about the firm and the services they provide, visit, or call (713) 974-1151.


Contact: Michael G. Busby, Jr.
Busby & Associates, Attorneys & Counselors at Law, P.C.
2909 Hillcroft suite 350 Houston, Texas
Houston, TX 77057
Tel: (713) 974-1151
Fax: (713) 974-1181