What to do if my husband and I went to the court and signed common law marriage papers but now that we are estranged he won’t help pay for the divorce because he thinks the marriage no longer exists?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if my husband and I went to the court and signed common law marriage papers but now that we are estranged he won’t help pay for the divorce because he thinks the marriage no longer exists?

We have an informal marriage license. However, he is engaged again and planning to remarry. Will they allow him to get married eve though he is still legally considered married or will they advise him at the court house that he needs a divorce first?

Asked on November 12, 2015 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You have a couple of different issues.  The first is whether or not you have a valid common law marriage.  To know whether or not you had a valid common law marriage, take a copy of your informal marriage license to an attorney to be reviewed and go over the facts of your case.  If you only filled out the license, but did not conform to the requisites of an informal marriage, then you may not need a divorce. 
Your second issue is whether or not you actually need a divorce.  Not all informal marriages require a divorce.  (This is not the case with formal marriages)  The Texas Family Code has a provision which enables certain common law divorce actions to avoid divorces.  Your's may be one of them.... so before you spend the funds on a divorce action, see if you actually need one.
Your third issue is regarding what the clerk will tell him.  The clerk's don't give legal advice and they don't cross reference records before issuing new licenses.... so they, most likely, won't tell him anything unless he asks them.
Your fourth issue is the cost of the divorce action.  The court's don't automatically split the costs of a divorce action.  This means that you could potentially be required to absorb all the costs of the divorce action, even if he doesn't contest it.
If you don't have any major property items and you didn't have any children together--then the divorce action should be simple, assuming that you need it.  Many counties are not offering clinics where you can have an attorney review your case and documents to provide you with the answers that you need to your questions. This will significantly reduce any costs.  Call your local district clerk for information about clinics or pro bono programs in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption