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Cohabitation Agreements: A Look At The Latest Texas Legislation

It’s crucial to stay updated on the latest Texas legislation that impacts the lives of unmarried couples who choose to live together. Cohabitation agreements, often referred to as non-marital conjugal cohabitation agreements, are legal tools that can protect the rights and interests of couples who live together but are not married. Recent updates to the Texas Family Code have introduced significant changes in how these agreements are handled in the state. 

What Is A Cohabitation Agreement? 

A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract that outlines the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples who choose to live together. This agreement can address various aspects of their relationship, including financial matters, property ownership, and even issues related to children if the couple has any. It serves as a tool to protect both parties and clarify their intentions while living together. 

The Texas Family Code And Common Law Marriages 

Texas is one of the few states that recognize common law marriages. A common law marriage, or cohabitation, occurs when a couple lives together and presents themselves as married without a formal marriage license. Under Texas law, couples who meet certain criteria are considered legally married, even without a formal ceremony. 

Recent updates to the Texas Family Code have brought significant changes regarding cohabitation and common law marriages according to a family lawyer with our friends at the Brandy Austin Law Firm. It’s important to understand these changes to protect your rights and interests if you are an unmarried couple living together in Texas. 

Recent Legislative Updates 

During its most recent session, Texas lawmakers adopted and passed several amendments and updates to the Texas Family Code, which significantly impact cohabitation agreements and common law marriages in the state. These updates aim to provide clarity and protection for couples in these relationships. 

Some of the key points from the recent legislative updates include: 

1. Clarity on Cohabitation Agreements: The updated legislation provides clear guidelines and requirements for cohabitation agreements. Couples can now create legally binding contracts that outline their rights and responsibilities, helping to avoid legal disputes in the future. 

2. Presumption of Common Law Marriage: The new legislation clarifies the criteria that establish a presumption of common law marriage. It’s essential for couples to be aware of these criteria to ensure they do not unintentionally enter into a common law marriage. 

3. Registration of Cohabitation Agreements: While cohabitation agreements are legally binding, couples can choose to register them with the county clerk’s office. This provides an added layer of protection and ensures the agreement is publicly recognized.

4. Rights and Responsibilities: The legislation outlines the rights and responsibilities of couples in cohabitation agreements. This includes property rights, financial matters, and the handling of children, providing a comprehensive framework for unmarried couples. 

The recent updates to the Texas Family Code have brought clarity and protection to unmarried couples living together in the state. Cohabitation agreements now have a clear legal framework, and common law marriages are better defined, reducing the risk of unintended marriage recognition. As a family law expert, it’s essential to inform and guide unmarried couples through these changes, ensuring their rights and interests are protected as they cohabit in Texas. 

By staying informed about these legislative updates and helping couples create cohabitation agreements that align with their intentions, you can play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of unmarried couples in the Lone Star State. If you need help understanding these laws, reach out to a lawyer near you.