Can same-sex couples enter into informal or common-law marriage?
Yes. Same-sex couples in Texas now can enter into an informal marriage, also known as a common-law marriage. Texas allows parties in an informal marriage to hold, as their legal marriage date, the earliest date at which they satisfied all the requirements of an informal marriage.
Under the Texas Family Code, an informal or “common law” marriage may be proved by evidence that (1) a declaration of marriage has been signed; or (2) by showing that the parties agreed to be married and after the agreement they cohabitated together, in Texas, as a married couple, and represented themselves to others, in Texas, to be married.
All three requirements must occur at the same time, although there is no minimum duration. Additionally, both members of a couple must be at least 18 years old, must not be related to each other by consanguinity (as defined in Texas Family Code 6.201), and must be legally single. If either party is married to someone else, a new informal marriage does not start until the prior marriage is dissolved, regardless of the couple’s intent and behavior.