What happens after the dissolution of a common law marriage?


Quick Answer

After the dissolution of a common law marriage, couples must go through the same divorce procedure as traditionally married couples, reports About.com. Once common law marriage is established in a state that allows it, the couple must go through the divorce procedure no matter where they reside, states Nolo.

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Full Answer

Only 12 states recognize common law marriage as of 2015, and several others recognize common law marriages established before the policy was rescinded, states Nolo. However, the criteria for establishing common law marriages are vague and not dependent on couples living together for a fixed amount of time. To be married according to common law, couples must live together for an undefined significant amount of time and act as if they were a married couple, such as sharing a last name, filing a joint tax return and calling each other husband and wife.

In states that recognize common law marriage, couples who behave as though they were married that do not want to enter into common law marriage should sign a statement of joint intent concerning their relationship to avoid future court complications, according to Nolo. Couples who are unsure of their status under common law marriage should consult a lawyer when contemplating the dissolution of the relationship, reports About.com.

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