Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Montana recognize common law marriages as do Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and the District of Columbia, according to FindLaw. Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Ohio and Pennsylvania ban common law marriages but generally recognize them if formed before the ban date.
Common law marriage refers to the relationship a man and woman hold when they have never formally married or received a marriage license but represent themselves to society as a married couple, states FindLaw. There are generally four requirements that the couple's relationship must fulfill before a state recognizes a common law marriage: both individuals must live together, they must have the legal right to marry, they have the intent to marry, and they represent themselves as a married couple.
Having the legal right to marry means that both parties must be of legal marrying age, which depends on the state, notes FindLaw. Both parties must also be of sound mental capacity and not married to anyone else. Some factors that a court may look to in deciding whether or not a couple presents themselves as a married couple include taking the same last name, sharing financial accounts and referring to each other as "husband" or "wife."