May 29, 2022 5:03 AM
Attorney News

What States Recognize Common Law Marriages

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By Anaya Taylor
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A common law marriage is not divorced – it is still a legally binding relationship between two people. A couple who is living together without a formal marriage ceremony will follow the divorce process as if they were married. This allows the couple to divide their property the way they want without the need to involve the courts. The state’s property ownership system will decide how the assets and debts will be divided. Nevertheless, many benefits of a common law marriage will be lost if the relationship ends.

what states recognize common law marriage

A common law marriage will not last forever. Typically, a couple will need to live together for a certain period of time before they are officially married. Some states will require a formalized marriage, but not all. In most cases, a common law marriage can be terminated anytime before the couple is legally married. You may even be eligible for spousal support if you and your spouse are living together for several years.

A common law marriage is a legal union that requires the couple to hold themselves out as a married couple. This can be formalized with the creation of a joint bank account or document. Wearing wedding rings or using the same last name will also help. However, there is no universally set time period. It is best to consult a lawyer before getting married. When in doubt, it is best to consult a legal professional.

Some states consider cohabitation as marriage. If the couple shares bills and accounts together, or if they file taxes together, the state will recognize the relationship as a common law marriage. The couple must be at least seven years together to be considered married. The other party must be legally married in order for the union to be recognized as valid. It’s also important to note that in some states, a common law marriage is not recognized.

The process to prove that a common law marriage is legal is more complicated than it is in a civil marriage. Some states require that the couple hold out as a married couple by opening a joint bank account, wearing wedding rings, and using the same last name. Other states require that the couple have been living together for a certain period of time. Although this is not universally required, it is best to have a written statement in place if the couple is planning to live together.

In addition to the laws of the state, the common law marriage laws of different states can also be relevant in various situations. For example, a couple who is preparing to move across state lines might wonder if their union is considered a legal marriage in their home state. A divorce attorney can help you find out which of these laws will apply to your situation and guide you through the process. While most states recognize a common law marriage, others will not.

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