This means that they come with all of the same rights, benefits and responsibilities of legal marriage.
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Under the U. Hodges , the United States Constitution requires that same-sex couples be permitted to enter marriage on the same terms — whether ceremonial or common law — as are accorded different-sex couples.
Thus, it follows that state courts have the power to declare same-sex relationships to be common-law marriages if they would accord the same status to a heterosexual union. This is the case in states where common law marriages were abolished prior to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. In Pennsylvania, for example, where a same-sex common marriage will be recognized if contracted prior to January 1, even where Pennsylvania did not recognize same-sex marriages until May 20, Proving a common law marriage status can be particularly important for same-sex couples who have been in a long-term relationship but were prevented from entering into a ceremonial marriage for many years by laws that have since been declared unconstitutional.
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An individual may also be able to establish a same-sex common law marriage even where a spouse died prior to same-sex marriage becoming legal in the jurisdiction where they lived. Even where a couple entered into a ceremonial marriage, they could be eligible for a declaration of an earlier, common law marriage date if they meet the requirements.
This is important because some benefits such as Social Security or alimony benefits require a certain length of a marriage in order for a spouse to access such benefits. This may also be important in the event of the breakdown of marriage, where the length of the marriage is an important factor when considering issues of alimony or equitable distribution.
Common Law Marriage
Individuals seeking to be recognized as a common law spouse, should consult an attorney familiar with the application of this status in the jurisdiction where you live and remember that, even if you live in a jurisdiction that no longer recognizes common law marriage, you may still be successful if the marriage as contracted in a state that recognized that status at the time that you lived there. Common law marriage is not as common as many people believe.
Simply living together does not mean that you have a common law marriage. There are strict requirements that have to be met for common law marriages to be considered valid. Additionally, only a few states in the United States recognize common law marriages.
Common Law Marriage is Not Legal in Massachusetts - Except When It Is
Every state has its own laws regarding common law marriages and only a few actually recognize this type of union. In the majority of states, it is still a requirement that you obtain a marriage license to be recognized as a married couple. Keep in mind that even within these states, the laws will vary.
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Any of the laws are also subject to change if the state's legislature sees fit to do so. To ensure that you know the current law in your state, contact an attorney or seek other legal advice regarding your particular situation. Some states only recognize common law marriages if they were created within a certain time frame. The term used is "contracted," meaning you have entered into a common law contract or agreement and followed the requirements set by that state.
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Notice how some states allow common law marriages before a certain date while others allow them only after a particular date. This grey area is another reason to reach out for local legal advice. Living together is one of them, but it isn't enough.
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There is a general agreement in the U. However, this has been challenged by a number of states. It is best to consult an attorney to make sure your common law marriage is recognized in the state where you are currently residing. To make sure that you would be eligible for survivor benefits, you need to go to an SSA office and fill out forms, provide statements from two blood relatives, and provide supporting evidence of your common-law relationship.
Your state must also recognize common law marriages in order to be "considered married" when filing your federal income taxes. Regarding any issue involving your common law marriage—taxes, social security, moving, etc.