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22 J. Am. Acad. Matrimonial Law. 151 (2009)
Common Law Marriage

handle is hein.journals/jaaml22 and id is 157 raw text is: Vol. 22, 2009

I. Introduction
Marriage is a term that takes on different meanings. Some
couples would say that they are married because they had a wed-
ding ceremony and signed a formal contract. Other couples sim-
ply live together and consider themselves to be committed to one
another, perhaps even consider themselves to be married, even
though they have not entered into a formal marriage contract.
The situation where a couple has not obtained a license or partic-
ipated in a ceremony is better known as common law marriage.
Common law marriages are no longer valid in most states.
Currently fifteen states and the District of Columbia recognize
common law marriage under some circumstances. States that
recognize common law marriage include: Alabama,' Colorado,2
Georgia (if created before January 1, 1997),3 Idaho (if created
before January 1, 1996),4 Iowa,5 Kansas,6 Montana,7 New Hamp-
shire (for inheritance purposes only),8 Ohio (if created before
October 10, 1991),9 Oklahoma,10 Pennsylvania (if created before
January 1, 2005),11 Rhode Island,12 South Carolina,13 Texas,14
and Utah.15
1 Lorren v. Agan, No. 2050520, 2006 WL 3691568, at *2 (Ala. Civ. App.
Dec. 15, 2006).
2 IN RE MARRIAGE OF J.M.H., 143 P.3d 1116, 1117 (Colo. Ct. App.
3 GA. CODE ANN., § 19-3-1.1 (West 2007).
4 IDAHO CODE ANN. ST § 32-201 (2007).
5 In re Toom, 710 N.W.2d 258 (Iowa Ct. App. 2005).
6 BAHRUTH V. JACOBUS, 154 P.3d 1184 (Kan. Ct. App. Apr. 6, 2007).
(Mont. 2004).
8 IN RE ESTATE OF BuTrRICK, 597 A.2d 74 (N.H. 1991).
9 OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 3105.12 (West 2007).
10 DAVIs V. STATE, 103 P.3d 70, 82 (Okla. Crim. App. 2004).
11 23 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. § 1103 (WEST 2007).
12 DEMELO V. ZOMPA, 844 A.2d 174, 177 (R.I. 2004).
13 Callen v Callen, 620 S.E.2d 59 (S.C. 2005).
14 HART V. WEBSTER, No. 03-05-00282-CV, 2006 WL 1707975, at *2 (Tex.
App. June 23, 2006).
15 UTAH CODE ANN. § 30-1-4.5 (West 2007).


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