How can you get married under common law -- or how do you get a common law marriage recognized?
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:
AlabamaColoradoDistrict of ColumbiaIowaKansasMontanaNew Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only)OklahomaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaTexasUtah
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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