Common-law marriagealso known as sui juris marriageinformal marriagemarriage by habit and reputeor marriage in fact is a legal framework in a limited number of jurisdictions where a couple is legally considered marriedwithout that couple having formally registered their relation as a civil or religious marriage. The original concept of a "common-law marriage" is a marriage that is considered valid by both partners, but has not been formally recorded with a state or religious registry, or celebrated in a formal religious service.
In effect, the act of the couple representing themselves to others as being married, and organizing their relation as if they were married, acts as the evidence that they are married. The requirements for a common-law marriage to be recognised differ from state to state.
The term common-law marriage has wide informal use, often to denote relations which are not legally recognized as common-law marriages. The term common-law marriage is often used colloquially or by the media to refer to cohabiting couples, regardless List of states that recognize common law marriage any legal rights that these couples may or may not have, which can create public confusion both in regard to the term and in regard to the legal rights of unmarried partners.
A common-law marriage is recognized for federal tax purposes if it is recognized by the state or jurisdiction where the taxpayers currently live, or in the state where the common-law marriage began. If the marriage is recognized under the law and customs of the state or jurisdiction in which the marriage takes place even in a foreign countrythe marriage is valid for tax purposes Rev. Specific state or jurisdiction requirements for a common-law marriage to be recognised must be considered by couples contemplating filing joint returns.
Windsor decision recognizing same-sex marriage. The new DOL rule became effective March 27, and extends FMLA leave rights and job protections to eligible employees in a same-sex marriage or a common-law marriage entered into in a state or jurisdiction where those statuses are legally recognized, regardless of the state in which the employee currently works or resides.
Common-law marriages can be contracted in the District of Columbia  and in nine states: Common-law marriages can no longer be contracted in 27 states, as of the dates given: Alabama Alaska ArizonaCalifornia[ citation needed ] FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinois IndianaKentuckyMainewhen it became part of Massachusetts; then a state,MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriNebraskaNevadaNew JerseyNew Mexico New York also  —North DakotaOhioPennsylvaniaSouth Dakota and Wisconsin Common-law marriages have never been permitted to be contracted in 13 states: Neither the Territory of Guam  nor the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands  recognize common-law marriage.
Common-law marriage also exists in the Native American tribes.
Among Native American tribesfor example, the Navajo Nation permits common-law marriage and allows its members to marry through tribal ceremonial processes and traditional processes. In the past same-sex relationships were not recognised by some states, even if established in a state that recognised them.
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The problem is proving the marriage at divorce or on the death of one of the parties, if the validity of the marriage is contested. Because there is no marriage certificate, it can be difficult to prove a common-law marriage actually existed.
Similar problems of proof may arise if the parties to a common-law marriage were not actually domiciled in the state where they lived at the time they sought to contract the marriage; or they may have thought they were contracting a marriage but they did not actually conform to the law of the state in which they were living.
The essential question is whether the marriage was validly contracted under the laws of the jurisdiction where the parties allege their marriage was contracted. All states—including those that have abolished the contract of common-law marriage within their boundaries—recognize common-law marriages lawfully contracted in jurisdictions that permit it. This is because all states provide that validity of foreign marriage is determined per lex loci celebrationis — that is, "by law of the place of celebration.
Constitution, discussed below, requires all U. Thus, a marriage validly contracted in Ohio, including common-law marriages entered into before that state abolished new common-law marriages inis valid in Indiana, even though the common-law marriage could not have been legally contracted in Indiana, because Ohio law is the basis of its validity.
However, by the same principle, a marriage that was not lawfully contracted in Ohio would not be valid in Indiana even List of states that recognize common law marriage it could have been lawfully contracted there. Additionally, some courts have held that all marriages performed within the U.
Supreme Court — whose decision would apply nationally, not just locally or within a particular state or a federal circuit. Note there is no such thing as "common-law divorce" in the United States — that is, a married couple cannot terminate a common-law marriage as easily as they got into one.
Only the contract of the marriage is irregular; everything else about the marriage is the same as a regularly licensed and solemnized marriage. Divorce or dissolution of marriage requires filing a petition for divorce or dissolution in the appropriate court in their state. The requirements for a common-law marriage to be validly contracted differ in the 11 U. The elements of a common-law marriage are, with respect to both spouses: Colorado, by statute, no longer recognizes common-law marriages entered by minors in Colorado, and also does not recognize foreign common-law marriages entered into by minors, even if that marriage would have been valid where entered into under local law.
List of states that recognize common law marriage constitutionality of this limitation as applied to foreign marriages has not been tested in litigation. Colorado, Montana, and Texas are the only U. According to the District of Columbia Department of Human Services, a common-law marriage is "A marriage that is legally recognized even though there has been no ceremony and there is no certification of marriage.
A common-law marriage exists if the two persons are legally free to marry, if it is the intent of the two persons to establish a marriage, and if the two are known to the community as husband and wife.
Common-law marriages have been recognized in the District of Columbia since We think it equally true that the rule now generally recognized is that statutes requiring a marriage to be preceded by a license or to be solemnized by a religious ceremony without words List of states that recognize common law marriage nullity as to marriages contracted otherwise are directory merely and failure to procure the license or to go through a religious ceremony does not invalidate the marriage.
There is nothing in the statute which declares that a marriage shall not be valid unless solemnized in the prescribed manner, nor does it declare any particular thing requisite to the validity of the marriage.
The act confines itself wholly with providing the mode of solemnizing the marriage and to the persons authorized to perform the ceremony. Indeed, the statue itself declares the purpose underlying the requirements to be secure registration and evidence of the marriage rather than to deny validity to marriages not performed according to its terms. The three elements of a common-law marriage are: A common law marriage is a social relationship that meets all the necessary requisites of a marriage except that it was not solemnized, performed or witnessed by an official authorized by law to perform marriages.
The necessary elements of a common law marriage are: No special time limit is necessary to establish a common law marriage. Under Kansas Statuteboth parties to a common-law marriage must be 18 years old. The three requirements that must coexist to establish a common-law marriage in Kansas are: A common-law marriage is established when a couple: New Hampshire recognizes common-law marriage for purposes of probate only.
In New Hampshire "[P]ersons cohabiting and acknowledging each other as husband and wife, and generally reputed to be such, for the period of 3 years, and until the decease of one of them, shall thereafter be deemed to have been legally married.
The situation in Oklahoma has been unclear since the mids, with legal scholars reporting each of,and as the year common-law marriage was abolished in the state.
However, as of September 12,the Oklahoma List of states that recognize common law marriage Commission continues to represent common-law marriage as legal there,  and the Department of Corrections continues to reference common-law marriage, though that could refer to older marriages. Oklahoma common-law status is much controverted, but as of February 19,several Oklahoma executive agencies continue to represent it as legal,  and a reputed ban in cannot be found in its statutes.
The criteria for a common-law marriage are: The Texas Family Code, Sections 2.
Both parties must be at least age 18 to enter into a common-law marriage. First, a couple can file a legal "Declaration of Informal Marriage", which is a legally binding document. The form must be completed by both marriage partners and sworn or affirmed in presence of the County Clerk.
The Declaration is formally recorded as part of the Official County Records by Volume and Page number, and is then forwarded by the County Clerk to the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics, where it is again legally recorded as formal evidence of marriage.
This is the same procedure that is used when a marriage license is issued and filed; the term "Informal" refers only to the fact that no formal wedding ceremony whether civil or religious was conducted.
Second, a couple can meet a three-prong test, showing evidence of all of the following:. Regarding the second prong, in the actual text of the Texas Family Code, there is no specification on the length of time that a couple must cohabitate to meet this requirement.