You've probably heard the term "Common Law Marriage," but do you know what that is?

Does New Jersey recognize Common Law Marriage?

Why not a traditional marriage?

What is Common-Law Marriage?

First, what is a common law marriage?

States that recognize common law marriage have different requirements.

In basic terms, a couple must cohabit for a period (varies), they must be legally capable, and they must present themselves as being married to the community.

Here in New Jersey, we do NOT recognize common law marriage.

States that Fully Recognize Common Law Marriage

The eight states that fully recognize common law marriage include:

  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas

9 states used to recognize common law marriage but no longer do.

Those states continue to recognize those who entered into a common law marriage before a certain date.

If a couple moves from a common-law marriage state to a non common law state, the non-common-law state will still recognize the marriage.

Why Couples Choose this Over Traditional Marriages

The benefits of a common-law marriage are mostly practical.

It eliminates the cost of a traditional wedding, there are different ways to enter into this type of arrangement, and if it all ends, it can be handled differently than a typical divorce.

Couples in a common law marriage are entitled to the same benefits as those in a traditional marriage.

We never like to think about a marriage ending, especially while things are going well.

Untying the knot of a common law couple can be more complicated if things aren't worked out in advance.

Important Warning

Experts I've asked about this have a warning for any couple thinking about going this route.  Get advice from a licensed attorney at the start of your relationship.

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