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Author: Tessmer Law Firm

Dissolving a Common Law Marriage   In order to end a common law marriage you must file for divorce. The first step, however, is proving the marriage existed.   Proving a Common Law Marriage   Texas courts generally give two years from the end of the relationship for a person to prove a common law, or informal, marriage and file for divorce. After two years the court assumes that there was no agreement of marriage.   Some examples of proof of an informal marriage are: joint tax statements; leases signed as husband and wife; insurance forms filed as husband and wife; a signed declaration of marriage; and sworn...

Entering into a Common Law Marriage If you would like to enter a common law marriage you must be:over 18; marrying someone of the opposite sex; not related to your future spouse and not currently married. Nobody under the age of 18 may enter into a common law marriage, even with parental approval. In addition to being over 18, you must be a mixed gender couple. A Texas judge recently ruled the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional during a lawsuit involving a same-sex common law marriage. However, the status of same-sex marriage remains in legal limbo. Finally, both parties must be single....

In Texas common law marriage, or informal marriage, is a form of marriage that confers all the same rights as what we recognize as a formal or traditional marriage.   Prior to its independence, Texas laws were based on Spanish and European civil laws. In 1840, The Republic of Texas adopted the English system of laws known as “common law.” This mixing of legal systems is why Texas is one of the few states to recognize both traditional and common law marriage as legally equivalent.   Most informal marriages become important at the end of the marriage. For example, a spouse is entitled to half...

Here are the final two questions to wrap up our week on the subject of child support.   When does child support end?   In Texas, the law generally requires that the non-custodial parent pay child support until the child turns 18, or when he/she graduates high school – whichever comes later. There are other exceptions to the law, for example in the case of emancipation, or an adult disabled child.   A minor can become legally emancipated before age 18 by getting married, joining the military or by petitioning the court. If your child becomes emancipated, you are no longer required to pay child support...

We are often hired to assist in enforcing court orders when a parent does not pay child support for various reasons. A common question we hear is this: “My ex will not allow me to see our child. Can I withhold child support to force her to allow visitation?”   The Texas courts address child support and visitation as separate issues. Being denied visitation, or access to your child, is NOT cause to withhold child support payments. If you do, you will be in violation of a court order and subject to collection efforts by the Office of the Attorney General as...

Our clients ask a lot of questions about child support laws and guidelines. This is great for us because we love for our clients to learn the most they can about the law as it applies to their case. Here are a few of the most common questions we are asked.   Which parent pays child support in Texas? Who pays child support in joint custody?   The Texas courts divide child custody issues into two categories: conservatorship and possession and access.   Conservatorship means the rights and duties of the parent(s) to make decisions for the child. For example, deciding on physicians and medical care,...

The majority of our Family Law cases involve matters with children and we often address issues with child support. This week at our Tessmer Tips legal blog, we are pleased to bring you information about child support, what we feel you need to know and the answers to the most common questions we are asked.   There are four types of child support available in Texas, any of which can be sought in court and can be brought separately or at the same time:  current child support, medical child support, retroactive child support, and temporary child support.   Current child support is an...

Happy Father's Day to all of you loving, hard working dads.  Our tagline may be "Ever Argue with a Woman?" but don't let that fool you into believing we advocate for women only. Here at Tessmer Law Firm, PLLC, we believe in "Families First." In a divorce situation, we work to do that which is in your child's best interests, first and foremost. Giving birth doesn't make one a better parent.  Dads deserve some credit, too!  Here is a set of ten tips for any father out there who may be facing a divorce:   Divorcing Dad Tip #1:  Think carefully before leaving your...

There are many internet sites, television and radio ads telling us how easy it is to write your own Will.  You may have even heard a family member (usually an old timer) talk about a hand-written Will but don't tell you about the dangers.  Please, we beg of you:  Don’t go the do-it-yourself route.   Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger wrote his own will – all 176 words – and you might assume that with his knowledge of the law, he got it right. Well, guess again. His family paid the price, owing over $450,000 in estate taxes and court fees that could...

Please, plan for disability.   Estate planning is not only about carrying out our wishes when we die. A good, thorough plan will take care of you while you are living. Durable Powers of Attorney and Medical Directives give your loved ones the authority to make medical and financial decisions for you in the event that you are incapable.  Even without a condition such as dementia or Alzheimers, simply aging can bring with it a loss of mental capacity and leave you unable to manage your finances or health care.   Don’t wait until it is too late to put these documents in place. The...