The term 'common law marriage' itself is fairly common, but there are only a few states that actually legally recognize it.

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What is common law marriage?

To put it simply, it’s a union where two consenting adults become a couple without going through the process of obtaining a marriage license or having a formal marriage ceremony. [Lyttle Law Firm]

Does Texas recognize common law marriages?

Even though the term 'common law marriage' is fairly common, only a few states legally recognize it and Texas is one of them.

However, just living together doesn't make you husband and wife. Texas law dictates that a common-law marriage may be proved, in a nutshell, by the following factors:

  1. The couple agrees to be married.
  2. Following the agreement to be married, the couple then agrees to live together as husband and wife (or husband and husband, wife and wife, etc).
    1. While the statute hasn't been updated to reflect same-sex marriages, same-sex couples can, indeed, enter into an informal marriage, otherwise known as a common-law marriage.
  3. Finally, the couple has represented themselves to others as married.

How many states allow common-law marriages?

The most recent data shows that only 8 states permit common-law marriages, and they are:

  1. Texas
  2. Utah
  3. Colorado
  4. Iowa
  5. Kansas
  6. Montana
  7. New Hampshire
  8. South Carolina

So, in essence, while Texas may be behind in education and marijuana reformation laws, we are definitely progressive enough to allow common-law marriages.

What are some of the benefits of common law marriage in Texas?

  1. Legal recognition of your marriage
  2. Eligible to receive insurance benefits through spouse's plan at work
  3. A widowed spouse is eligible to inherit assets without paying estate taxes
  4. Hospital visitation rights
  5. Rights to property and assets

If you have further questions about common-law marriages in the state of Texas, please consult your attorney or just Google it as I did.

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