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Can a Dallas couple in a common law marriage get a divorce?

We've been looking recently at some outside-the-box family law issues. Last week, we established that Dallas residents can put the brakes on a divorce just like Hollywood couples in a high asset divorce, potentially with just a few forms to be filed at the clerk's office.

Here in Texas, some couples may find themselves wanting to end a marriage that they never even formally entered. As long as they agreed that they were married, lived together as husband and wife, and represented to others that they were married, Dallas couples can be informally married. A common law marriage has some other requirements, but doesn't require a marriage license or court order. How, then, does such a couple get a divorce?

The potentially difficult matter is to prove that you were married in the first place. A written declaration of informal marriage will be valuable evidence, as well as testimony from friends, family, coworkers and other witnesses. These people should be able to testify that you called each other "husband" and "wife" in public, for example. Official forms like lease agreements, tax returns and insurance policies filed as a married couple can also help make the case.

Once an informal marriage has been proven, divorce works the same as it does otherwise, with property division to work through and potentially other divorce legal issues like child custody, child support, parenting time or alimony. A legal professional can therefore play as important a role in ending an informal marriage as a formal one.

Source: TexasLawHelp.org, "Common Questions: Starting & Ending 'Common Law' Marriage," accessed on Nov. 13, 2015

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