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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33100
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including family law.
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I just had a hearing common law marriage in Burnet Texas. I

Customer Question

I just had a hearing for a common law marriage in Burnet Texas. I presented tax documents from 2004 to present filing status married filing jointly. We were together 22 yrs, bought property as husband & wife & along with many other contracts as such. He left me with all debt including mortgage & car payments & moved in with another woman a year ago. The Jude ruled we were not married because he testified he never presented me as his wife to anyone. She ruled in his favor. Can I appeal this decision? She never requested to see any documents with,me,listed as a spouse. I am shocked & quite confused.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 6 months ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney with more than 18 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help

Also, if you would like to chat on the phone, let me know and I can make that happen.

I am sorry for this dilemma.

It is possible to appeal a ruling by the court. You have 30 days, from the day the court issues the judgment in the case to file an appeal. You would file the appeal with the appeals court.

HOWEVER, what you are describing...I do not think you have a good case for appeal

You can ONLY appeal two things

1. Legal error. IF the judge makes an error of law...for example, say that the judge used the wrong legal standard to decide the case? That could be a basis for appeal

2. Abuse of discretion. If the judge made a decision that is not supported by the evidence in the case, that can be a basis for appeal

Under TX law, in order to be married under "common law" the parties must "hold themselves out" to the public as married. This is a required element to prove a common law marriage.

SO if, in fact, he never held you out to others as his wife? You were not married (under TX common law)

Here, if he testified that this never happened and the judge believed his testimony? That would be evidence to dismiss the case. The only way you could appeal is if you presented clear evidence that he, on at least one occasion, held you out to others as his wife

This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that you can appeal this but I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you...I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!

Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
We always presented ourselves as married. I can't even get my/his name removed from electric bill without a divorce decree. I could have presented mortgage docs, tax docs, witnesses etc but wasn't ever asked or given opportunity. I have no faith in our system at this point.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 6 months ago.

Thank you
I understand...and can understand your frustration.

You can file an appeal...but to prevail on the appeal you have to prove the judge abused their discretion...and that can be very tough to accomplish. Basically you have to prove that you presented evidence that the judge ignored improperly

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