My ex and I separated four years ago but had a registered common law marriage. My current boyfriend and I, with whom I’ve lived all this time, are discussing marriage, but I’m not sure whether any divorce laws exist for a registered common law marriage. I also found out that my ex registered another common law marriage two years ago. Could that mean that we aren’t married?
Contrary to popular belief, cohabitation alone for an extended period isn’t enough to create a common law marriage. For your common law marriage to be valid, you must live together (for a period defined by your state), intend on living as a married couple, and you must portray yourselves as married to the world. The most significant difference between common law and traditional marriage is that the couple doesn’t obtain a license before getting married.
Only a few states allow common law marriages today. Your first step is to determine if your common law marriage was valid when you entered it. Although the requirements vary a bit from state to state, typically, you'll have to prove to the court that you and your ex both intended to be married. You can demonstrate this with evidence of conduct showing an intent to be married, including:
Neither you nor your ex-spouse are free to remarry until the court signs your judgment of divorce, which means your partner’s second common law marriage is invalid.