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Does the state of Pennsylvania recognize common law marriage

Collegeville, PA |

been together for 8 years, plan on getting married, have 2 children 6 and 7. He has an adult son thats 25.

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Attorney answers 3


Pennsylvania: law was amended to read "No common-law marriage contracted after January 1, 2005 shall be valid." (Pennsylvania Statues, Section 1103)


Effective the beginning of 2005, no new marriages can be created under Pennsylvania's common law. Those already in existence as of January 1, 2005 remain valid, but it is important for you to realize that simply having been together since prior to that date does not make you married. Prior to 2005, people in Pennsylvania married under the common law much like they married under the statutory law, only without the existence of a license and the public record of the marriage that the license creates: by two people exchanging words of present intent to marry, in the presence of a witness. So, people married under the common law have a wedding anniversary date just like every other couple who married in this state. Things like wedding rings, referring to yourselves as husband and wife, joint tax filings, etc. are merely *evidence* of the existence of a marriage under the common law, but did not themselves create it.

Attorney Michael B. Greenstein
Pittsburgh, PA

Common law marriage


Mr. Greenstein's answer is excellent and on point. If I recall correctly, it was under Governor Rendell that Common Law marriages ended.

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