(sub)urban myths

(sub)urban myths about family law, marriage and divorce

We’ve all heard wives’ tales, tall tales and fables.  These are my office version of those types of stories for family law, marriage and divorce.  They are the questions I’m asked at parties and bbqs when people are pretty sure their favorite tv show or book is based on reality.  Sometimes it’s just chit-chat and sometimes I’m a tiebreaker in the middle of a funny discussion – but either way, here’s my take on a few urban or suburban myths for you.

Living Together for 7 Years

Common law marriage is one of topics that I hear the funniest questions about.  People ask about how a common law marriage is set up, when people are considered married and .  The most recent one was when I was having a conversation and it was just made as a statement – “…well, after 7 years, they’d be married anyway.”  Hmmm? No.  So, that usually leads to a shorter discussion (I’ve found that ‘lawyer talk’ can get boring for people sometimes) about the elements of common law marriage and how those work.

She’ll Keep the Engagement Ring

If she gets an engagement ring and the wedding doesn’t happen she gets to keep the wedding ring anyway, right?  Sadly, depending on who is asking the question, she doesn’t necessarily get to keep the ring.  A few questions will probably need to be asked to get to the right answer on this one: Who broke off the engagement? Why?

We’re Separated, Right?

This question or statement usually is when someone purposely sought me out for some advice at some occasion and I always feel like they already know the answer but are hoping that if they ask the question one more time they might get a new answer.  And, in Texas the answer is that you are married until you are divorced.  There isn’t a legal status of ‘separated’.  You can move out, divide bank accounts, divide furniture and find yourself just as married as you were before.

Family law questions and more importantly the answers aren’t going to be found on a search engine, tv show or you and your friends having dinner.  Get your answers from an experienced family law attorney.  Contact my office today.

Jill O’Connell