July 18, 2019

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Yes, a Common Law Spouse Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Texas

In Texas, common law marriage gives you the same rights and responsibilities as formal, or ceremonial, marriage. Texas only allows the surviving spouse, children and parents of the decedent to recover wrongful death compensation for the loss of a loved one. This includes the common-law spouse, but you will need to prove that you had a common law marriage. An experienced Texas wrongful death attorney can help.

Declaration of Informal Marriage

Some common-law couples choose to file a document called a Declaration of Informal Marriage. If you and your spouse chose to document your marriage in this way, you can use you Declaration of Informal Marriage to as proof of the common-law marriage.

Common Law Marriage with No Declaration

You do not need a Declaration of Informal Marriage in order to establish valid common-law marriage. You must simply prove the following three elements:

  • You and your spouse agreed to be married
  • You lived together in the state of Texas
  • You represented yourselves to others as married

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to lie together for a certain amount of time. However, you did have to live together in Texas. Living together in another state doesn’t count for Texas common-law marriage.

How a Texas Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

You will have to prove that you had a valid common-law marriage. An experienced Texas wrongful death lawyer knows what kind of evidence you need to support each of the three elements.

Please, do not wait until it is too late to file your claim. Contact an experienced Texas wrongful death attorney right away.

About Sandra Dalton

With a background as a paralegal, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights, Sandra Dalton launched her freelance writing career in 2000 with a weekly column on Freedom for Suite 101 and pro bono projects for individuals and organizations supporting causes close to her heart. One of her first projects was for the Police Compliant Center writing about police misconduct. Sandra’s legal writing quickly expanded to include personal injury, animal welfare, criminal defense, disability discrimination, family law and much more.

Sandra’s other writing around the web includes a broad range of topics such as food, pet health, feral cats, music and film. Sandra is also a fine art photographer, helps with animal rescue and TNR in her community, and volunteers as a DJ at her local radio station.