When a person seeks divorce from an informal marriage, they often must prove the informal marriage existed. To prove a Texas informal marriage, the party must show by the preponderance of the evidence that the couple agreed to be married, subsequently lived together in Texas as spouses, and held themselves out to others as married. Tex. Fam. Code § 2.401. A man recently appealed summary judgment in his divorce case on the ground he had not raised an issue of fact as to the existence of an informal marriage.
The petitioner filed for divorce in November 2021, alleging the parties had been married on or about March 18, 2002.
In her answer, the respondent asserted a verified defense that they parties were not married. She filed a motion for summary judgment, attaching tax returns, deeds, and other exhibits that she argued showed the parties had not represented themselves as married “to the general public or others.” She also averred that the petitioner had never presented her as his wife to his children, that his children had not socialized with her or her family because they knew she was not the petitioner’s wife, and that he lived with another woman.