Wait... Are We Married? Common Law Marriage Law Explained

John Michael Phillips

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Posted over 2 years ago. 3 helpful votes

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A "common law marriage" is one in which the parties hold themselves out as a husband and wife, and the law LEGALLY deems them married WITHOUT a marriage license or ceremony. Florida doesn't allow common law marriages any longer, however Florida recognizes common law marriages that occurred in other states. It also recognizes any common law marriages that existed before the law was abolished- on January 1, 1968. For our Georgia friends, that date is January 1, 1997.

Common law marriage is recognized only in the following states: Alabama Colorado District of Columbia Iowa Kansas Montana New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only) Oklahoma Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Texas Utah Typically, to have a common law marriage, all 4 of the following MUST occur:

a heterosexual couple lives together in a state that recognizes common law marriages (see above); for a significant period of time (usually a period of years); the couple holds themselves out as a married couple -- typically this means using the same last name, referring to the other as a spouse, and/or filing a joint tax return, and the couple intends to be married. --- --- --- --- --- --- John M. Phillips jmp@knowthelawyer.com Licensed in Florida, Georgia and Alabama --- --- --- --- --- ---

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