Common law marriage in the united states has been around since the late 1800s. Believe it or not this form of marriage still exist in the U.S today, but only in a hand full of states. 10 to be more precise and the District of Columbia. Along with those states another five still recognize common law marriage, however, they come with a few restrictions. This guide will shed light on the practice of common law marriage along with what states sill recognize them.
Definition of common law marriage
Common law marriage is when two people a couple live together for a period of time and they refer to themselves to everyone as being a married couple, However, they never actually getting a marriage license.
States that recognize common law marriage
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- District of Columbia
Limited recognition of common law marriages by state
These states will recognize common law marriages if the couples in question satisfy all the requirements before these kinds of marriages were no longer allowed.
- Idaho Must have been done before January 1, 1997
- Georgia: Must have been done before January 1, 1997
- Oklahoma: Must have been done before November 1, 1998
- New Hampshire: Only for inheritance purposes
- Ohio: Must have been done before October 10, 1991
- Pennsylvania: Must have been done before January 1, 2005
Requirements that must be meet for common law marriage
- Both must have legal rights to marry this means that both parties involved must be 18 years of age but do keep in mind that age varies by state. Both parties must be of sound mind and both must be single and not be married to someone else.
- Amount of time varies, but the couple must live together.
- Must hold yourself to family and friends that you are a married couple. As part of this agreement the person must
take thsame last name, refer to each other as husband and wife in public, and have joint bank accounts and or credit cards.
If your live in a state that does not allow or recognize common law marriage
IF you do live in a state that does not recognize these laws there is no way around this law, no matter how long you have been with your partner.
A common myth
A common myth when talking about common law marriage is that some think that if you live with someone for seven years its automaticaly grounds for a common law marriage. This is not true. There are other rules and stipulations that must happen for a common law marrige to be true. Keep in mind that must states, not all allow common law the person has to live together for one year.
Should you seek legal help if you want to get common law married?
Yes, seeking legal help if you qualify to be common law married is not a bad idea. Finding legal help to make sure you get all of your questions answered about common law marriage, wills, etc. Finding an experienced attorney that deals with family law would be your best bet to gain more insight on if practicing in common law marriage is right for you.
Because a common law marriage isn’t done the traditional way of going to the courthouse and getting a marriage certificate there will be
By looking at the above requirements one could possibly come to the conclusion that he or she was in a common law marriage. Did the couple live in a stat that allowed common law marriages to take place? if so, did the couples live together, share the same last name, and so on? if so they could have been in a common law marriage.