I have been told several things such as, if your clothes are in their closet for a set time peroid, if you receive mail there, and that you're only 'common law' if you file taxes together and/or present yourself as husband and wife. Can anyone clear this up for me? And if you are common law, do you have to get any type of 'divorce' to get the other person to move out?
The "test" in Alabama for common law marriage is whether or not the couple has held themselves out as husband and wife. We do not have a prescribed period of time for a couple to live together or a "clothes in the closet" test.
If an Ala Court is required to make a determination as to "common law" marriage (which often happens after a wrongful death situation wherein the surviving "spouse" claims common law marriage) then the Court will look to the totality of the facts to decide if a common law marriage truly exists. This would include not only living together but such things as whether the couple filed joint tax returns as married, whether the other party was listed as a "spouse" on job, credit, utility applications, etc. Also the Court will consider other evidence such as birthday cards, i.e., "To my husband/wife...", and whether the couple introduced themselves as husband and wife, e.g., "this is my husband....."
Finally, yes if a couple is deemed to be "common law" married, a divorce through the Court system is necessary. Ala does not recognize "common law divorce." Hope this helps clear up your questions.
You need to meet with an attorney in person to discuss all the facts. you have not provided enough facts here to answer your question. you could also visit the local law library for more information.
IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER HELPFUL PLEASE MARK IT SO. This information is provided by PEGGY M. RADDATZ, Attorney At Law as a pro bono service. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IN PERSON who has specific expertise in the area of law you are asking about.
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