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Marriage Laws

Many people are of the opinion that marriage is a beautiful union of two people in love, regardless of their sex, gender, religion or race. Marriage is an institution and like every institution, there are certain marriage laws that must be abided by before you are allowed to enter into it. For instance common law marriage is not recognized in some jurisdictions. Common law marriage, which is sometimes called de facto marriage, informal marriage, or marriage by repute and habit, is legally recognized in some jurisdictions as a marriage -- even though there was not a legally recognized marriage ceremony performed, there was no registration of the marriage in a civil registry, and there was no entrance into a civil marriage contract. A common law marriage is legal and binding in some common law jurisdictions but has no legal consequences whatsoever in other states.

The necessary distinctions of a common law marriage are:

  • Any government authority does not license a common law marriage, but the marriage may be recorded in the public records of some governmental bodies.
  • Common law marriages are not formalized.
  • In some jurisdictions, a couple must have lived together and held themselves out to everyone around them and to the world in general as spouses for a considerable period of time for the marriage to be recognized as legal. The period of living together is not defined in any state.
  • Living together (cohabitation) alone does not qualify as a common law marriage; the couple must hold themselves out to everyone around them and the world in general as husband and wife and there must also be a mutual consent of both parties to the relationship constituting a marriage. This in a nutshell simply means that no one should be forced into agreeing to be common law husband or wife.
  • Both parties should be of legal age to enter into a marriage (common law or not) or have the permission to marry from their parents.

Links to More Marriage Law Information


Getting married is one thing, preparing for a marriage is another thing entirely. You need to find out and understand the marriage laws in various parts of the US. The laws of marriage differ from state to state, but most states have the following marriage laws in common:
  • You have to be 18 years old in order to enter into a marriage. If you are 17 years old, you must apply for a marriage license with either parents or the person that has legal custody.
  • An ancestor is not allowed to marry his or her decedents; this law also prohibits an uncle from marrying his niece and an aunt from marrying her nephew. A brother and sister are not allowed to marry even if they are half blood; it is considered incestuous.
  • Most states do not allow same-sex marriages but allow civil unions and other contracts.

The Internet can help you find more information on marriage laws in your jurisdiction. For people who have never been married before, the legalities of marriage can be pretty overwhelming and somewhat confusing, so be prepared before you get married. It is very important to know the necessary requirements for acquiring a marriage license, such as age, costs of marriage license, ID, and so on.

With Marriage Records, you can find all the information you need concerning marriage and marriage related issues. The Department of Health & Human Services in your state can help you obtain information on how to apply for marriage licenses. You do not have to spend a dime to get the information you need on marriage laws in the United States. With the Internet you can answer all the marriage enquiries you have, quickly, discreetly and efficiently.