Q & A

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Out of state valid common law marriage. To recognize that marriage as valid in California, how do we prove the validity of the common law marriage? Do common law married couples have a license or certificate?

The requirements differ from one to another state. For example, Texas Family Code, Section 2.401 requires as follows:

"SUBCHAPTER E. MARRIAGE WITHOUT FORMALITIES Sec. 2.401. PROOF OF INFORMAL MARRIAGE. (a) In a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, the marriage of a man and woman may be proved by evidence that:
(1) a declaration of their marriage has been signed as provided by this subchapter; or
(2) the man and woman agreed to be married and after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife and there represented to others that they were married.
(b) If a proceeding in which a marriage is to be proved as provided by Subsection (a)(2) is not commenced before the second anniversary of the date on which the parties separated and ceased living together, it is rebuttably presumed that the parties did not enter into an agreement to be married.
(c) A person under 18 years of age may not:
(1) be a party to an informal marriage; or
(2) execute a declaration of informal marriage under Section 2.402.
(d) A person may not be a party to an informal marriage or execute a declaration of an informal marriage if the person is presently married to a person who is not the other party to the informal marriage or declaration of an informal marriage, as applicable.
Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 7, Sec. 1, eff. April 17, 1997.
Statute text rendered on: 7/19/2014 - 23 -"