What is Common Law Marriage?

Not all states recognize common law marriages. For those states that do recognize common law marriages, they treat a common law marriage the same as a legally binding ceremonial marriage. The differences between the two are that common law marriages

  1. are not licensed under government authority,
  2. are not solemnized,
  3. are not blessed by a religious institution or authority, and
  4. are not entered into public record.

Furthermore, the parties to a common law marriage must hold themselves out to the public as if they are husband and wife. Just living with someone does not constitute a common law marriage. Some jurisdictions also required that the couple must have lived together and held themselves out as husband and wife for a certain duration for the common law marriage to be considered valid.