Texas is one state which provides for common law marriage, which can be entered into without the assistance of a court or a county clerk. Both parties simply have to confirm that they live together and hold each other out as being husband or wife in a marriage. However, if you do not want to enter into a full marriage, domestic partnership offers a similar agreement without the strict nuances of marriage. A domestic partnership can be dissolved, whereas you must go through a divorce to dissolve even a common law marriage.
Domestic partnerships do not have the same high tier standard as marriage does, meaning that community property obligations do not extend to domestic partnerships. Therefore, property acquired during a domestic partnership will be subject to the strict community property standards. However, sometimes this further complicates the division of property upon the dissolution of a domestic partnership and therefore an experienced family law attorney should be involved to protect your assets. A domestic partnership agreement can outline the various “separate” and “community” property which is acquired during the partnership, and can operate in the same manner as a prenuptial agreement.
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