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Been in a relationship for 13 years and have two kids. I would like to know if I have to get a divorce?

Tuscaloosa, AL |

I have been a stay at home mom for years. I just want to know my rights. Thank you

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Attorney answers 2


Simply put, if you are married, you will need a divorce to terminate that relationship. If you are not married, then there can be no divorce. The better question may be: Are you married? Alabama does recognize common law marriages and once you are common law married you ARE married and must go through a legal divorce to terminate the marriage.

Whether you are common law married is determined by your specific situation. You don't become common law married by having children or by living with someone for a certain number of years. I suggest you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area to discuss the specifics of your case.

DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only. The information should not be construed as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any response given does not result in any further obligation to provide an additional response. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.


Mr. Bailey is correct. Alabama certainly recognized Common Law marriage. Alabama does not, however, permit "common law divorce". If there is a determination that you are married, then you absolutley must go through the process of becoming legal divorced. The easiest way to determine whether you are married is to consult with a licensed attorney in your area. It is not as simple as just living together for a certain amount of time, or having children in common. For all parties concerned, it is generally best to get a divorce before moving forward with your lives. I have had the situation where the parties didn't believe it was necessary, and then years later, the wife purported to get married to another man and they had children. The (would be) ex-husband then comes screaming into the picture that he and the wife are actually still married, could be a real mess. Because there are children involved, I fully advise consulting an attorney in person to explain your specific circumstances to determine which course of action is best. Best of luck!