If you and your significant other decide to live together, or cohabitate, rather than go through a legal marriage, there may be legal consequences that can affect you both. In Texas, if you cohabitate with your significant other, you may be considered "common law married" even if you have not been legally married. A common law marriage is treated the same as a legal marriage for legal purposes. Common law marriage can be confusing and there are many gray areas regarding property, finances and debt.
Our family law and divorce attorney can explain common law marriage and provide insight as to whether you and your significant other would be considered common law spouses under Texas law. We will also explain your rights in a common law marriage and what rights you have if your sign a cohabitation agreement.
Regardless of whether or not you are common law spouses, simple cohabitation gives certain rights and abilities to partners such as applying for a mortgage together or working out child support.
If you and your partner do not want to get married or be considered common law spouses, it may be prudent to enter into a cohabitation agreement. For legal purposes, a cohabitation definition can be understood as a living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship. A cohabitation agreement is created to protect a couple if their cohabitation does not work out. It allows for fair distribution of mutually bought property or helps to create an arrangement when it comes to dealing with debt or child support. Cohabitation laws allow partners to get rights, albeit abbreviated, that were traditionally reserved for legally married, heterosexual couples.
Cohabitation and finances are directly linked. Most rights granted by signing cohabitation contracts deal with finances. Most of the time these rights are exercised when a cohabitation ceases (child support or dividing property), but some are exercised during the time of cohabitation (applying for a mortgage).
Are you wondering whether you and your partner may now be considered "common law married" under Texas law? Does a cohabitation agreement seem like the path for you? Our common law marriage lawyer will provide the answers to your questions and help address your concerns. Contact us to get the information you need.