What States Recognize Common Law Marriage?

If you’re wondering whether your state recognizes common law marriage, you’re not alone. Many people are curious about this topic, and for good reason. After all, common law marriage can have a big impact on things like your taxes, your benefits, and your rights.

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Introduction

A common law marriage is a marriage that is not formally recognized by the state, but which may be considered valid if it meets certain requirements. Common law marriage is not recognized in all states, so it’s important to understand the laws of your state before entering into a common law marriage. In general, common law marriages are only recognized in states where the couple has lived together for a certain period of time and held themselves out as a married couple.

Here is a list of states that recognize common law marriage:

Alabama
Colorado
District of Columbia
Georgia (if created before 1997)
Idaho (if created before 1996)
Iowa
Kansas
Montana
New Hampshire (if created before 2009)
Oklahoma (if created before November 1, 1998)
Pennsylvania (if created before January 1, 2005)
Rhode Island (if created before January 1, 2017)
South Carolina
Texas (if created before January 1, 1994)
Utah

What is common law marriage?

A common law marriage is a legally recognized marriage between two people who have not purchased a marriage license or had their marriage solemnized by a ceremony. In order for a common law marriage to be valid, the couple must meet certain requirements. First, they must have the capacity to marry, which means they must be of legal age and mentally capable of making the commitment. Second, they must live together in the same state for a certain period of time, although there is no set time period. Third, they must present themselves to friends, family, and society as a married couple. And fourth, they must intend to be married to each other.

Common law marriages are not recognized in every state. Currently, only Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia (if created before 1/1/97), Idaho (if created before 1/1/96), Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire (for inheritances only), Oklahoma, Rhode Island (if created before 8/1/86), South Carolina, Texas (if created before 9/1/09), Utah and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico recognize common law marriages. Some states will recognize common law marriages that were created in other states if those marriages would have been valid in the state where they occurred.

The history of common law marriage

Common law marriage is a marriage that is not officiated by a clergy member or government official, but is instead based on the couple’s mutual agreement to be married. In the United States, common law marriage is recognized in some states, while others do not recognize it. The history of common law marriage in the United States is long and complicated, and the status of common law marriage varies from state to state.

The first recorded instance of common law marriage in the United States was in 1639, when John Cotton, a Puritan minister, wrote about it in his book The Wayes of New England. Common law marriage was not widely practiced in the United States until the 19th century. At that time, many couples who could not afford to get married or did not want to go through the hassle of getting a marriage license simply agreed to be married and began living together as husband and wife.

Common law marriage was originally only recognized in a few states, but by 1900, it was recognized in almost every state. In 1931, Alabama became the last state to recognize common law marriage. Today, common law marriage is no longer recognized in every state; it is only recognized in about half of the states. Despite this, couples who enter into a common law marriage are generally considered to be legally married under federal law.

What states recognize common law marriage?

As of 2019, six states currently recognize common law marriage: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. Common law marriage has also been recognized in the District of Columbia since 2015. All other states have done away with common law marriage either through legislation or court ruling.

Common law marriage is a marriage without a license or ceremony. In order for a couple to be considered married under common law, they must meet certain requirements set forth by state law. While these requirements vary by state, they typically include cohabitation for a certain period of time and an intention to be married.

Couples in common law marriages have the same legal rights as couples in formal marriages. This includes the right to file joint tax returns, insurance benefits, and share property. In addition, children born to couples in common law marriages have the same legal rights as children born to couples in formal marriages.

If you live in a state that no longer recognizes common law marriage and you wish to dissolve your relationship, you will need to go through the divorce process like any other married couple.

How do you enter into a common law marriage?

In order to enter into a common law marriage, you and your partner must first meet the following requirements:

-You must be of legal age to marry in your state (18, in most states).
-You must live together in a “marriage-like” relationship. This generally means that you share a household and consider yourselves to be a married couple, even if you don’t have a formal marriage certificate.
-You must intend to be married. This can be shown by referring to each other as husband and wife, filing joint taxes, or holding yourselves out as a married couple in your social and personal lives.

If you meet all of these requirements, congratulations! You are in a common law marriage. However, just because you’re in a common law marriage doesn’t mean that every state will recognize it. In fact, only about half of states currently recognize common law marriage.

The benefits of common law marriage

Common law marriage is a marriage that is not officiated by a religious or civil authority, but rather by the mutual consent of the two parties. Though it is not recognized in all states, those that do recognize common law marriage confer many of the same benefits on couples as traditional marriages. These benefits can include things like tax breaks, health insurance coverage, and the ability to file for joint taxes. In some states, common law marriages even confer the same rights as traditional marriages when it comes to things like child custody and visitation.

The drawbacks of common law marriage

While common law marriage has some drawbacks, it can be a good option for couples who want to avoid the hassle and expense of a traditional wedding. For one thing, common law marriage is not recognized in all states. In fact, only about half of states in the U.S. currently recognize common law marriage. This means that if you move to a state that does not recognize common law marriage, your relationship may not be considered legally valid.

Additionally, common law marriages can be difficult to prove in court if there is any dispute over the status of the relationship. If you are in a common law marriage and have any assets or property together, it is important to draw up a legal contract specifying your ownership rights. Otherwise, you may have difficulty enforcing your rights if you separate or divorce.

Overall, common law marriage can be a good option for couples who want to avoid the traditional wedding process but it is important to be aware of the potential drawbacks. Make sure you understand the laws in your state and take steps to protect your rights and interests if you do choose this route.

How to end a common law marriage

Although common law marriage is not recognized in every state, there are a number of states that do allow for this type of marriage. If you live in a state that does not recognize common law marriage, then you will need to follow the procedures for ending a traditional marriage. However, if you do live in a state that recognizes common law marriage, then there are a few things you should know about how to end this type of relationship.

First, it is important to understand that common law marriages are treated just like any other marriage under the law. This means that you will need to file for divorce in order to legally end your relationship. You will also need to follow the same procedures as any other divorce, including resolving issues such as child custody and division of assets.

Second, if you want to end your common law marriage, it is important to make sure that you do so in a way that is respectful and considerate of your partner. Although common law marriages are not as formal as traditional marriages, they are still relationships and should be ended in a way that takes into account the feelings of both parties.

Finally, it is important to consult with an attorney before ending a common law marriage. An attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under the law and can also help you navigate the process of ending your relationship in a way that is fair and equitable for both parties.

FAQs about common law marriage

There are many myths and misunderstandings about common law marriage. Some people think that if they live together for a certain number of years (seven is often mentioned), they will be considered married. Others think that if they sign a cohabitation agreement, they have a common law marriage. Neither of these is true.

In order to have a common law marriage, you need to meet three requirements:

1. You must live together in a state that recognizes common law marriage.
2. You must intend to be married (this can be shown by living together and holding yourselves out as husband and wife).
3. You must present yourselves to the world as a married couple.

So, if you want to enter into a common law marriage, you need to do more than just move in together – you need to take affirmative steps to show that you consider yourselves husband and wife. Once you do that, your relationship will be recognized as a marriage by the state in which you live, and you’ll enjoy all the same rights and responsibilities as any other married couple.

Conclusion

The states that recognize common law marriage are Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. If you move to one of these states and meet the requirements for a common law marriage, you will be considered married in the eyes of the law.

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