01
Sep

The Sticky CLM Issue That Can & Will Stop Your Prison Wedding Planning Process…

Last night while texting back to a client I was asked “can a Warden deny the I60?” The answer is yes. But, there must be a valid reason for a Denial. Wardens don’t simply “just say no.”

Let’s go over the primary reason for a Denial. The old CLM issue that most inmates claim “they forgot about.” TDCJ didn’t forget. In fact, whether the inmate went into the system claiming a CLM Status off the bat or years later, filed a CLM Affidavit in order to obtain contact visits, inmate records forwarded this information to the Courts in Huntsville. 

Meaning… based on the CLM Affidavit, the inmate was granted contact visits. Let me clarify for my spies and trolls that a contact visit IS NOT a conjugal visit. A contact visit means there is no glass separating the inmate from the other person. Texas does not allow conjugal visits. 

Last nights client had a fairly unique situation that I’ve yet to encounter and because it’s difficult to surprise me, we will dive in to why TDCJ doesn’t throw away a CLM status EVEN when the inmate is no longer incarcerated. She had filed a CLM Affidavit with another inmate years ago. Because the other inmate had been released, she also assumed that her current fiancées I60 would be Approved if he wasn’t listed as CLM to someone other than her. Yes, this is a Two Fer. The inmate she’s trying to marry is also listed as CLM to someone other than her. Stay tuned. 

In order to abolish the CLM status, a Dissolution Agreement must be notarized and forwarded to inmate records from the law library by the currently incarcerated inmate. On the outside, a Dissolution Agreement must be notarized and sent to Huntsville to quash the record listing the other party as being CLM or Common Law Married to an inmate although the inmate is no longer in the system. 

Before everyone else reading this who happens to have encountered the same problem starts contacting me to send them my Dissolution Agreement, I’m not in the business of solving strangers problems. I provide Dissolution Agreements to MY CLIENTS as a courtesy. 

Certain Units May also require a Texas Marriage or Divorce Verification Sheet. How do you get one? Here’s the link– Texas Vital Statistics Marriage And Divorce Verification.

Rather than argue with strangers regarding the legality of a CLM Affidavit “outside of the system,” I will use this opportunity to educate and enlighten a few people that assume or believe that Common Law Marriage in Texas is “easy to prove.” It isn’t. The Informal Marriage Affidavit exists BECAUSE it isn’t easy to prove Common Law Marriage. 

For all of the numskulls out there contacting me to tell me “you have to get a divorce if you are CLM,” I’ve got a news flash for you, if a legal marriage cannot be proven, a divorce cannot be filed. The REQUIREMENT of an Informal Marriage in Texas is that BOTH Parties are PRESENT to file an Informal Marriage Affidavit. If one person is in prison, obviously they aren’t filing a CLM Affidavit in person.

DECLARATION AND REGISTRATION OF AN INFORMAL MARRIAGE (COMMON LAW)

An informal marriage license can be obtained and recorded by a couple who agree to be married, and after the agreement, they lived together in this state as a couple and represented to others that they were married.

Both parties must be present. An absentee affidavit cannot be used for an informal marriage license.

A person under 18 years of age may not obtain an informal marriage license.

A person may not obtain an informal marriage license if presently married to someone else.

The fee is $36 cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover. 

Now… for everyone wondering how in the heck Informal Marriage Affidavits wound up in Texas Prisons, the widespread misuse of these Affidavits were meant to validate or at the very least verify that the inmate had a relationship other than friendship with the other party. No one likes the glass. No one likes the phones that rarely work and inmates wanted contact visits. In fact, most inmates described this document as a “piece of paper” to the person they wanted to sign it. 

Most of my clients have no idea that the inmate ever filed a CLM with someone other than themselves UNTIL they try going through the Prison Wedding Planning Process. Why? Because the I60 is DENIED based on the inmates status OR the client had signed a CLM Affidavit with another inmate in order to obtain contact visits and didn’t tell the inmate they are attempting to marry because they never assumed that it would come up. 

The CLM Sucker Punch… CLM Affidavits don’t go away on their own. If you have EVER filed a CLM Affidavit, TDCJ has kept it on file. Rather than screaming and crying, calm down. Call me. We will work through undoing the CLM Status. 

For everyone else contacting me to tell me “we are legally married. It’s easy to prove Common Law Marriage in Texas,” I hope you never need to test your theory in probate court. My father lived with Gretta for six years. My father and Gretta filed joint tax returns, shared checking accounts and lived as husband and wife but THEY NEVER FILED AN INFORMAL MARRIAGE AFFIDAVIT TOGETHER. Because they hadn’t, even with a will, my father never won or much less proved Common Law Marriage. 

These Affidavits when filed together by both parties in the clerks office ARE LEGALLY BINDING AND REQUIRE A DIVORCE BOTH IN AND OUTSIDE OF TEXAS. 

The primary difference between Informal and Formal Marriage in Texas is that a Formal Marriage REQUIRES AN OFFICIANT AND CEREMONY. An Informal Marriage Affidavit “skips” the ceremony AND Officiant requirements.