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Can I prove common law marriage and do I have any rights

Sharon, SC |

I have lived with a man for the last 12 years and we have introduced each other as husband and wife. We have bought 7 to 10 properties together over the years with survivorship rights and completed building a house 4 years ago that we live in. The house sits on his land but we built it 50-50 as far as money and labor are concerned. He has found out that he has cancer in the last year and I am the only carrier of medical insurance for him for the last 10 years. Over the last three months he has told to me to get out on several occasions. I believe this is being prompted by his daughter. How can I protect myself and my investment in this house? Do I have any rights as a common law wife in the state of South Carolina?

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Attorney answers 1


South Carolina does recognize a common law marriage. One of the main issues will be whether you filed tax returns as married. If you did, then there should be no problem having you declared as his common law wife. If you are declared his wife, you have a statutory right to claim one third of his estate. Click on the link below for a full discussion of common law marriage in South Carolina. I have handled a number of such actions.



We have never filed taxes together but bought property together and have a bank acount in both our names. I work in North carolina and carry him on my insurance at as my husband. Can you tell me what city you pratice in? Thank you for your answer so far!

Lloyd Wayne Patterson

Lloyd Wayne Patterson


i am in Greenville but practice in the entire Upstate.



at the most you're entitled to 1/3 of the estate but not the the end he will probably owe you money but not any houses or properties.. In the end he will owe you 1/2 of whatever value the properties have gained over the time you've been together, so say his house or property market value has increased by $20000 since you've been together then he only owes you $10000.

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