A common law marriage is when a couple lives together for a period of time and holds themselves out to friends, family, and the community as “being married,” but never goes through a formal ceremony or get a marriage license.

Requirements to Prove Common Law Marriage:

1. Couple agrees to be married;

2. Couple lives together(cohabitates) in this state and,

3. Couple holds themselves out to others as married to each other.

Examples of holding out as being a married couple:

  • Taking the same last name
  • Referring to each other in public as “husband” or “wife”
  • Joint bank accounts
  • Joint credit cards

Both parties must have the legal right or “capacity to marry”

  • Both must be 18 years old
  • Both must be of sound mind
  • Both must not be married to someone else

If a legal action to prove a common law marriage is not commenced within 2 years after the parties ceased living together, a presumption arises that the parties had not agreed to be married.

Contact Yale Law at (940) 891-4800 for more information.