Common Law Marriage

The term common law marriage is used regularly by individuals to mean a long-term, cohabiting couple, but the term has a specific legal definition in some areas of the United States as well. Although not widely used, some couples who are living as married, have arranged their affairs as a married, or otherwise present themselves to the world as married, can enjoy a number of legal benefits that a couple must otherwise be married to receive.

Whether and how common law marriage are recognized by the courts can be a tricky issue due to where the couple has lived, for how long, when they entered the relationship, and so on. Today, the District of Columbia, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Montana, Oklahoma, and Utah are the only states that still recognize common law marriage.

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case that made same-sex marriage legal, the Family Medical Leave Act was amended to include same sex and common law marriage protection under that piece of legislation.

Though common law marriage isn’t recognized in Maryland, a Columbia family law attorney can provide more information about other aspects of marriage.