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Common Law Marriage

There are some couples who see the marriage ceremony merely as a form of societal obligation. That is, they view it as either non-essential or taboo in their relationship together. For these people it is only important that they recognize their commitment to each other and solely mutual respect and understanding decide their relationship, not legality. Thus, they enter a common law marriage.

A common law marriage is an informal marriage wherein both parties give mutual consent for their union though it has not been sanctioned by a religious or civil ceremony or contract. It also means that they have not obtained any form of wedding license or fulfilled the requirements needed for the state to recognize it. It is in addition sometimes called a de facto marriage or marriage by habit and repute, or a domestic partnership. There are some states that recognize the legal bind of the couple but in other states it has no legal consequence.

Living together doesn't necessarily mean the couple has already entered a common law situation, although cohabitation for about a year or so is important in the recognition of Common law marriages. It is the recognition that they are spouses and telling the people around them, as well as the world, that binds them together. The partnership must have mutual consent by the parties and the partners must be of legal age when entering the marriage. If not, then the parents' consent must be asked. States that recognize common law marriages place the couple's names under public records of a certain government entity, depending on the state involved.

The recognition of a common law marriage varies from state to state. Common law marriages can be contracted in eleven states. This includes Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Kansas, Iowa, New Hampshire (posthumously), Rhode Island, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and the District of Columbia. In some states, the recognition of common law marriages is still unclear. Pennsylvania seeks to abolish the recognition of such marriages. It is said that any common law marriages entered after January 1, 2005 will be abolished. The States of Arkansas, Delaware, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming have never recognized this form of marriage at all.

You can also be allowed to change your name in terms of usage. This means that others will simply recognize you by your name without any legal action involved. For legal purposes though, such as banks and institutions, it is still best to use your legal name unless an official court order that changes your name stands.

In some states, a common law spouse might be entitled to spousal support or a share of property of some sort. States who recognize the marriage typically give the same treatment to common law couples as any other couple.

Find Helpful Resources Online

If you are planning to gradually enter into a common law marriage, it is best to live in a state where recognition and benefits are given to common law couples. This means one is entitled to have a say in important decisions such as right to inheritance and right to medical decisions in case one of the spouses should be disabled, diseased, and so on.

Sites, like ExpertLaw provide the reader a clear understanding of the rights and privileges of a common law marriage. It supplies legal articles and legal forums regarding Common law marriages. In addition it displays several research links needed to help you stock your knowledge about this form of marriage. Likewise, TheLaw also gives free legal advice concerning things like alimony. Support issues are important in common law marriages and should be resolved right away before they get the chance to ruin the partnership.