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By: Sampair Group

What is Common-Law Marriage?

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Many couples today find that uniting with a spouse through common-law marriage works better for them than entering into a marriage in a traditional manner. Common-law marriage occurs when a couple fulfills certain requirements according to the laws of the state they live in to be considered married without having had a marriage ceremony. A common-law marriage can be established by two individuals who both agree to enter into the marriage, have the capacity to marry, and present themselves as married to friends and in transactions such as sharing bank accounts and owning a home together.

What Rights do I Have in My Common-Law Marriage?

If you have entered into a common-law marriage, you may have many of the same rights as two individuals who married in a traditional marriage ceremony. Some of these include having a better case for receiving social security benefits for a surviving spouse, obtaining health insurance from a spouse’s employer, and possibly inheriting a spouse’s property upon their death. Some disadvantages to common-law marriage are that it is still a little more tricky to prove marital status than it would be if the two people were married officially. This is why having family law lawyers on your side can be a valuable asset as you prove the legality of your common-law marriage.

Does My State Recognize Common-Law Marriages?

Not every state recognizes common-law marriages, and many states have recently disallowed marriage by common law, although they still recognize those common-law marriages already existing. States that allow this practice are Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Some states, like Arizona, do not provide for the contracting of a common-law marriage within the state but will recognize the legality of such a marriage if it was formed in a state where it was legal. To know whether common-law marriage is legal where you live, you should speak with trusted family law attorneys who can help you know what is lawful in your location.

Should I Hire Family Law Lawyers to Prove My Common-Law Marriage?

With all the nuances of common-law marriage, it can be difficult to secure the rights you should be legally enjoying. In some states, a common-law marriage may not be recognized, and you might be required to marry in a traditional legal manner. To know what the right course of action is for you, please reach out to family law lawyers who you know have experience with common-law marriages and who will stand by your side through any legal proceedings you need to undertake. You can reach our talented legal team in Arizona to schedule a free initial consultation at 623-777-3909.