Law

Understanding Common Law Marriage 

Common-law marriage has been around in the United States for over a hundred years and is still practiced in 10 states. Still, many people are unclear on the subject and do not really understand its meaning. Some people also think marriage and common law marriage are the same, but there are significant differences between them. 

When you get into a relationship, you and your partner need to decide various things, such as who takes care of the finances, who takes charge of cooking, who oversees the kids, etc. One important decision is whether to get married or remain in a common-law marriage. To understand common law in ct, you can take the help of an attorney. 

What is common law marriage?

Couples who want to declare themselves married but do not want to go through civil or religious ceremonies can opt for a common-law marriage. A common law marriage is a union between two people (same-sex or heterosexual) who are in a relationship and have lived together for a considerable amount of time. 

It is like any usual marriage but without legalities. The couple does not have to hold a ceremony, say their vows in front of their friends and family, or sign government papers that establish a marriage. Therefore, the couple does not have a marriage license as well. 

Not all states recognize common law marriage. However, those that do may not have official rules in place, but there are specific criteria a couple needs to meet in order to be considered married by common law. These criteria are as follows.

  • The couple must be residing in a state that recognizes common law. 
  • The couple must have lived together for a specific amount of time. Different states have different timeframes for this. 
  • Partners must be of legal age (differs by state).
  • Both the partners must be of sound mind. 
  • The partners must not be married to someone else. 
  • Both must have the intention to marry.
  • Both must hold out to other people as a married couple, such as taking the last name, referring each other as husband/wife, holding joint bank accounts, etc. 

States allowing common law marriage in the United States

Only a few states recognize common-law relationships, and each of them has different requirements that must be met.

  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • District of Columbia
  • Kansas
  • Montana 
  • Texas (termed as “informal marriage)
  • Utah
  • Rhode Island 
  • South Carolina 

If you have a long-term partner you are living with but are not married to, you may have questions regarding common law marriage. Rules about this type of marriage vary from state to state. Contact a family law attorney for your peace of mind. 

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