The state of Texas has laws that seek to protect the welfare of children. However, the parents of the children need to be responsible for their affairs in order to keep everything in order. For parents who did not get married, then there are provisions in the law that they need to observe.
Texas recognizes common-law marriages. These are marriages without formalities like the marriage license or a ceremony.
The State has certain requirements before recognizing a couple as married. Firstly, they should agree that they are married. Second, they should live together as husband and wife. Finally, they should declare themselves to the general public as a married couple. This means they should introduce themselves as married to each other and also engage in legal affairs like a married couple, like jointly applying for credit.
They are considered married once the requirements are established. It is understood that only adults above the age of eighteen can marry under these terms.
Children in a Common Law Marriage
It should be clarified that these are the conditions for a common-law marriage. Having children is not necessarily a prerequisite, nor can it be a substitute. Just because a couple has a child together, that does not make them a married couple. They still need to fulfill those conditions.
The children in a common-law marriage will have the same status as those of a married couple. Thus, they are legitimate children with complete rights to inheritance and under the same legal protections as children of regular marriages.
The same is true when a common-law couple divorces. There will be a distribution of property, with recognition of community or conjugal property. There will be entitlements to child support and a right to petition for alimony.
It should also be noted that there are certain states that do not recognize common-law marriages. If a common-law couple leaves the state of Texas and moves to such a state, they may be required to formalize their union in order to enjoy the benefits and privileges of marriage.