How do we enter into a common law marriage?

Question

How can you get married under common law -- or how do you get a common law marriage recognized?

Answer

In states where common law marriage is recognized, a common law marriage exists when both members of a cohabiting couple intend to be married. Intent is shown in practical ways, like using the same last name, telling friends and business associates you are married, and filing a joint tax return.

It is still easiest and safest to marry formally. These days, only a few states recognize common law marriage. They include:

Alabama
Colorado
District of Columbia
Iowa
Kansas
Montana
New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only)
Oklahoma
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Texas
Utah

In Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, common law marriages can be recognized if they were created before a certain date (1997 for Georgia, 1996 for Idaho, 1991 for Ohio, and 2003 for Pennsylvania).

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