Pennsylvania Marriage Laws: The Status of Common-Law and Same-Sex Marriage

Learn whether common law marriage still exists in Pennsylvania and if same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships are allowed.

What are the requirements for getting legally married in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania does not require a blood test before a marriage license will be issued. You can marry immediately after your marriage license is issued, and your license is good for 60 days after it's issued. After that time, you'll have to get a new one before you can marry.

In Pennsylvania, as in most states, you must be of the age of consent, not be too closely related to your intended spouse, not be married to anyone else, and have sufficient "mental capacity," meaning you understand what you are doing when you marry.

Does Pennsylvania have common-law marriage?

Yes. In Pennsylvania, common law marriages that were created before January 1, 2005 are recognized. If you met Pennsylvania's criteria for common law marriage before January 1, 2005, then you are legally married and you will be treated as a married couple for legal purposes, including the requirement that you get a legal divorce in order to end your relationship. In order to have a valid common law marriage, a couple must have intended to be married, must have lived together for a significant period of time, and must have held themselves out as a married couple. If you need more information about common law marriage in Pennsylvania, consult an attorney.

Does Pennsylvania have same-sex marriage?

No. Pennsylvania doesn't allow partners of the same sex to marry, nor does it recognize domestic partnerships, civil unions, or reciprocal beneficiaries. For trends in same-sex marriage laws, see the article Same-Sex Marriage: Developments in the Law.

Learn about the proper legal steps to define and protect your relationship in the eyes of the law with Living Together: A Legal Guide, by Attorney Ralph Warner, Toni Ihara, J.D. and Attorney Frederick Hertz (Nolo), or Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples, by attorneys Denis Clifford, Frederick Hertz and Emily Doskow (Nolo).

Last updated 7/25/13

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