What Is a Common Law Marriage?
Common law marriages are marriages that take place without a ceremony.
Instead, a common law marriage is a marriage that is established when
two partners file an affidavit stating that you have mutually agreed to
become husband and wife.
How to Get a Common Law Marriage
Typically, a couple who wants a common law marriage will also request that
others who know them to also file an affidavit that explains how long
the couple has lived together, their address, and whether or not there
was any public announcement of the marriage. Also, friends and family
can file affidavits saying whether or not they have always regarded the
couple as married.
Normally, the couple will also need to provide deeds showing the title
to the property that is held jointly by both parties and bank statements
and checks that show that they have joint ownership of their accounts.
Common Law Marriage Is Not Recognized in California
Unfortunately, common law marriage is not recognized in California. That
means that regardless of how long a couple lives together, they are not
considered married unless they go through the process of obtaining a marriage
license and saying vows before an officiant who can also sign the certificate.
If you would like to form a common law marriage, then you will have to
travel to a state that recognizes arrangements of this type. These states are:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
In California, you will need to obtain a marriage license at a local family
courthouse and have it filled out and signed by both a witness and an
officiant in order to get your marriage legalized.
Contact Claery & Hammond if you need more information about this, or if you have been living with
a partner for years but are moving on and need assistance with