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:

Alabama
Colorado
DC
Iowa
Kansas
Montana
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Texas
Utah
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!