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
Common law marriage