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By carrillojm65344, Jan 6 2017 07:21PM

That is a question I get asked quite a bit. Texas is one of the few states that still recognizes common law marriages. The short answer to the question above is no. Texas Family Code Section 2.401 addresses how a couple can have a common law marriage.

Section 2.401 states that a man and a woman can prove their marriage with the following evidence:

1. A declaration of their marriage has been signed as provided by Subchapter E of the Texas Family Code; or

2. The man and woman agreed to be married, they lived together in Texas and they held themselves out as a married couple to others.

Section 2.402 lays out the requirements for satisfying part 2.401(a)(1). For those of you wanting to make it very clear that you want the common law marriage to be recognized should follow the steps in Section 2.402 of the Family Code.

Evidence satisfying Section 2.401(a)(2) will be more case specific. However, actions such as filing joint income tax returns as husband and wife, bank accounts, utility statements and how property is titled could all show a common law marriage.

For those of you out there that want to make it clear that you and your significant other do not want a common law marriage, you may want to consider a cohabitation agreement. There is no case law affirming cohabitation agreements, but the language of Section 1.108 of the Texas Family Code states:

"A promise or agreement made on consideration of marriage or nonmarital conjugal cohabitation is not enforceable unless the promise or agreement or a memorandum of the promise or agreement is in writing and signed by the person obligated by the promise or agreement." (emphasis added)

One of the primary purposes of a cohabitation agreement is to make clear that he parties do not want an informal/common law marriage. A party can use the written cohabitation agreement to defeat an assertion by an opposing party of the existence of a common law marriage.

If you have any questions about common law marriages or cohabitation agreements, give our office a call.

In addition to family law, our office also handles personal injury, criminal defense, business collections, civil litigation, real estate, oil and gas and business formations.

By carrillojm65344, Sep 6 2016 10:26PM

By: Stephen L. Parker.

With the resurgence of oil and gas production in Texas at the turn of this century, savvy real estate buyers and sellers know the inclusion—or exclusion—of the mineral rights can be a valuable bargaining chip. Most sellers, however, do not know exactly how much of the minerals they actually own. Unlike a house and the land upon which it sits, buyers are not able to visually inspect the minerals, and title companies do not insure the mineral rights.

Consequently, when a seller does not reserve all the minerals in a real estate transaction, buyers often do not know how much of the minerals they acquire, if any. Often during closings, buyers ask their title agents how much of the minerals they received, and their answers are usually somewhere along the lines of the title company does not insure the minerals, but you can hire an attorney to check for you. Unlike the surface estate, the minerals are intangible and often severed, sold, forgotten, and devised into multiple fractions. Most buyers would not consider buying one-half of a house, but buying one-half of the minerals is common.

Determining who owns the minerals on a tract of land requires research all the way back to the first transaction from the State of Texas to include all mineral reservations and conveyances. For example, I once saw a reservation for one-half the minerals on a tract of land from the 1920s in Wise County, and while the grantor likely intended to reserve any future gold or silver found on the property, it was a valid reservation of the oil and gas. Understandably, title companies do not have the time or resources to do this type of research for each of their countless monthly closings. This is something we can do, however. As a seller, knowing how much of the mineral estate you own puts you in a better bargaining position. And as a buyer, knowing whether a tract of land includes the minerals is particularly important because the mineral estate is dominant to the surface estate. Please let us help you answer with confidence the next time someone asks you whether you own your minerals.

By carrillojm65344, Feb 11 2016 08:27PM

If you have been charged with a crime and subsequently placed on Deferred Adjudication community supervision (probation), you may qualify for an Order of Nondisclosure. Chapter 411 of the Government Code sets out the qualifications and procedures for obtaining an Order of Nondisclosure.

A very quick thumbnail overview basically states that if you were placed on deferred adjudication community supervision and successfully completed said probation, you can petition the court for an Order of Nondisclosure. Government Code Section 411.072 covers nondisclosure rules for certain nonviolent misdemeanor offenses. Individuals charged with crimes under the following chapters of the Texas Penal Code do not qualify for an Order of Nondisclosure under this section:

1. Chapter 20 (kidnapping, unlawful restraint and smuggling of persons)

2. Chapter 21 (sexual offenses)

3. Chapter 25 (offenses against the family)

4. Chapter 42 (disorderly conduct)

5. Chapter 43 (public indecency)

6. Chapter 46 (offenses against the public)

7 Chapter 71 (organized crime)

Other sections of the Government Code will addresses the crimes listed above. Government Code Sections 411.0725, 411.0728 and 411.073 covers nondisclosures for felonies and misdemeanors identified above. Section 411.0735, which applies to certain intoxication offenses, allows an individual to apply for an Order of Nondisclosure after a period of confinement provided certain conditions are met.

An Order of Nondisclosure limits disclosure of criminal records only to other criminal justice agencies for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes.

One very important matter to understand is that a Nondisclosure Order is not the same as an expunction. Those are two different animals with two different sets of requirements. If you are interested in learning more, call our office to discuss your options.

By guest, Jun 4 2015 05:58PM

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