Common Law Marriage States 2

Where is Common Law Marriage Legally Recognized?

Not all states recognize common law marriage – essentially marriage without a formal ceremony – as a legal union. Of those that do, each state has different requirements for the marriage to be considered valid:

Alabama: Alabama requires that the couple meet three requirements to have a valid common law marriage. They are 1) mental capacity to enter into a marriage; 2) a mutual agreement between the couple to be married; and 3) consummation of the marriage.

Colorado: Couples wishing to validate a common law marriage in Colorado must 1) cohabitate; and 2) hold themselves out as being “married”.

District of Columbia: Couples in Washington, D.C. must 1) desire to be married; and 2) cohabitate.

Iowa: Iowa couples must 1) agree to be married; 2) cohabitate; and 3) hold themselves out publicly as a married couple.

Kansas: Couples in Kansas must 1) have mental capacity to enter into a marriage; 2) have a mutual agreement to be married; and 3) hold themselves out publicly as a married couple.

Montana: Couples in Montana must 1) have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage; 2) have a mutual agreement to be married; 3) cohabitate; and 4) hold themselves out publicly as a married couple.

Oklahoma: Couples in Oklahoma must 1) have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage; 2) have a mutual agreement to be married; and 3) cohabitate. Pennsylvania: Couples in Pennsylvania must have a mutual agreement through the exchange of “vows” to be married.

Rhode Island: Couples in Rhode Island must 1) have the intent to be married; and 2) hold themselves out publicly as a married couple.

South Carolina: Couples in South Carolina are considered to be married if they hold themselves out as a married couple publicly.

Texas: Couples in Texas must 1) mutually agree to be married; 2) cohabitate; 3) hold themselves out as a married couple publicly; and 4) sign a common law marriage document filed with the County Clerk.

Utah: Couples in Utah must 1) have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage; 2) cohabitate; and 3) hold themselves out publicly as a married couple. Couples must also have the union validated by a court order.

In addition to these states: New Hampshire also recognizes common law marriages but only for inheritance purposes. Idaho recognizes common law marriages entered into prior to 1996 and Ohio recognizes unions prior to October 10, 1991. Oklahoma definitely recognizes common law marriages conceived prior to November 1, 1998. There is some question as to whether common law marriages formed after that date will be recognized as valid.

Additionally, states that do not have provisions for common law marriages must recognize such unions that were considered to be valid in another state.

It is important to note that all of these states require the couple to be a man and a woman for the common law marriage to be valid and legally recognized. Common law marriage is not available to same sex couples.

Looking for legal answers?



Discussion

  • joyce

    I lived in pa. with a man for 3 and half yrs. with all intentions of marry him, he promise to marry me in nov/dec 2010. we got a license n md for this, with plans on relocating to fla. he left me, went to fla, met another woman,told he too leave. what rights do i have to fight with

    • Kamara Yahya

      This is a late note to you on how to fight back. You should of file your Common law Marrage. 2. You can file a complaint to suit him. If you need help call Kamara at 646-492-1508. Leave a message if no one answer.