Common Law Marriages

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In the USA, common law marriage have existed since 1877. It’s an archaic form of matrimony, but it still exists today in one form of another, in 10 states. In addition, 5 states recognize common law marriage with some form of restrictions or another.

A common law marriage is one in which a couple, usually a man or woman, live together a period of time, and during this time, present themselves as an exclusive couple to friends, family members, and the general community. They never go through a formal ceremony or a marriage license. Here are the 3 requirements, valid in most states.

You have to live together for a period of time
You have to have the legal right to marry
You both must intend to be married
You both must hold yourself to friends and family as a married couple
Examples include: taking the same last name
Joint bank accounts
Joint credit cards
If you are engaged in a common law marriage, you may be considered married. If you try to get married (for the first time), in common law states – you are already considered married, and as a result have to get divorced first! The following states recognize common law marriage:

Rhode Island
South Carolina
Does Common Law Marriage End If You Split Up

No. Common law is just as ENFORCEABLE and valid, as a normal marriage. As a result, it’s binding, just like a formal wedding. If you intend on getting married again, you’ll have to get a divorce first!