Cohabitating in Texas?

Protect Yourself with a Houston Premarital Agreement Lawyer

Photo CohabitationCohabitation agreements are important for couples living together who do not wish to be considered as married. If one person considers the couple married and the other does not, the couple will have to resort to the courts to determine their status and whether their property is community property. If a court finds the couple married, property acquired during the course of the relationship in Texas will be divided according to divorce proceedings.

Common Law Marriages

A common law marriage is a historical form of marriage whereby a man and a woman who have been living together in Texas and holding themselves out to be husband and wife are deemed to be common law married. There is no formal marriage ceremony. The couple has been acting as if they were married for a long time (generally at least 10 years) and are deemed to be married. Some of the signs that a court will look for are sharing the same last name and filing joint tax returns.

Cohabitation Agreements

A couple who has been living together may want to avoid this common law marriage declaration. A cohabitation agreement, which functions similarly to a prenuptial agreement, is an important legal agreement to safeguard your rights in case things do not work out. It serves as a guide to handle financial and property issues during the cohabitation period and in the event that the relationship ends. Cohabitation agreements can cover such important relationship areas as:

  • Who has what ownership rights regarding property acquired during the course of the relationship.
  • How property should be handled in the event that the relationship ends or in the event of the death of one of the partners.
  • Whether or not the couple considers themselves to be common law married or under what circumstances they would be considered married (e.g., only with a formal ceremony). (This clause is a personal preference. It has not been tested in Texas courts, but courts prefer people who spell out duties, obligations, and responsibilities, so we expect it to be upheld.)

If you are involved in a cohabitation relationship and want to ensure that the law recognizes your rights, contact a premarital lawyer at John K. Grubb & Associates, PC to discuss you and your partner’s options.

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