Welcome to the Kazi Law Firm! We are a boutique law firm steeped in Texas tradition personifying the warmth and congeniality consistent with southern hospitality. We believe in preserving integrity and professionalism with true Texan charm, staying true to our roots, while providing essential, affordable legal services to all. Located just north of Dallas, Texas in the rapidly growing suburb of Frisco; the Kazi Law Firm concentrates on contracts drafting and review, immigration law, will & estates, real estate law, landlord, tenant, mediation, and general business law needs.
Clients contact us from time to time inquiring about an affidavit of marriage. The usual scenario is that the couple needs to prove the existence of a common-law marriage. Common law marriages are not recognized in every state. However, Texas is one of the 16 states that recognize common-law spouses.
As of 2020, only eight states still allow common law marriages to be formed in them. An additional five states allow common law marriages, but only if those marriages were formed before a specific date.
However, all 50 states must recognize common law marriage validly created in other states that allow them. Therefore, if you formed a common-law marriage in a state that allows it and then moved to another state, your new state will be forced to recognize your marriage as valid.
What is an Affidavit of Marriage?
Ideally, you should have your official marriage certificate stored safely with your other important documents, such as your Will and birth certificate, but if you can’t locate it, an affidavit of marriage can be created to use instead. An affidavit of marriage is a replacement marriage certificate that can be legally used if your original is lost or inaccessible. For example, a few years ago we had a client whose marriage certificate washed away in a hurricane while living in Louisiana. When the couple relocated to Texas, they no longer had this vital document.
You may need to show the marriage certificate in a variety of settings and situations, and it is legal proof that you were married. This can also be used if you are divorced but need to prove that you were married in the past. Essentially, your affidavit of marriage will act as your sworn statement that you were validly married on the date and at the location specified.
Traditional Marriage vs. Common Law Marriage?
In some countries around the world, a marriage ceremony is necessary before a couple can call themselves legally married in the traditional sense. However, it is different in the United States, as most states do not require this formality. The main requirements for a traditional marriage here are that you be at least 18 years old; sign a certificate of marriage in the presence of a minister, judge, rabbi, imam, or another authorized person or spiritual leader; and obtain a marriage license from the state. This criteria applies in all 50 states, with only slight differences.
Now, a common-law marriage does not have the formalities mentioned above. To prove the existence of a common-law marriage in the states that permit it, you need to provide evidence that you have lived together for a certain length of time, which is usually two or three years. On top of this, there is other evidence that you may need to provide, such as sharing the same surname, referring in public to each other as husband or wife, sharing bank accounts and other financial commitments, and filing joint tax returns.
You may also need to show that you naturally formed a relationship that is equivalent to being married. If you need to provide evidence of your common-law marriage, you and your partner can sign affidavits swearing that you consider yourselves married. You can also obtain similar affidavits from friends, family members, and others that can attest to you being married. Additionally, you can use any other documents you have that tend to show that you are married, including jointly owned property deeds, bank statements, credit card accounts, birth certificates of your mutual children, insurance policies, and mail addressed to you both in your shared last name.
As I mentioned before, even though not all states offer common-law marriages, if you have gone through the process of confirming this in a state that does accept it, all other states (whether they legally approve of common-law marriage or not) have to accept your married status. Once you have completed the common-law marriage process you will be given the same rights and obligations as people who are traditionally married in the United States.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have misplaced your marriage certificate or if you are common-law married and need to prove it via an affidavit, contact us today to get the paperwork started.
I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not “do you have any questions?” But rather “what questions do you have?”
As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!
Why swim alone in shark-infested waters when you don’t need to?