Serving Clients Across Texas

When can we get married?

As Dallas Divorce Lawyer, I frequently am asked questions that touch on "legal separation" and its place in Texas family law. Texas law does not recognize legal separation as a status, so in Texas, you’re either married you are aren’t. The other day I had someone ask me whether she could marry someone who was legally separated from his spouse in another state. To answer this question, we need to look at who can and cannot get married in Texas.

Under the Texas Family Code, same-sex couples, persons related to each other, and currently married persons cannot get married. Under the question presented, the answer hinges on whether a person who is legally separated in another state is still consider "married" for purposes of Texas law. Because Texas does not recognize legal separation as a status, then the person seeking marriage is still technically married to their "former" spouse in the jurisdiction they are legally separated in. Therefore, the marriage cannot occur.

Under Texas law, a marriage is considered void and of no effect if either party to the marriage is currently married. As a side bar, there is one small exception to this rule — couples who are currently married to each other can obtain a marriage license. In essence this exception allows couples to "legally" renew their wedding vows.