A couple who’ been together many years now wants counseling to marry. Are they considered common law married?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

A couple who’ been together many years now wants counseling to marry. Are they considered common law married?

The couple has been together in Alabama for years, the never married legally because the woman did not trust the man, but stayed with him. Now they want marriage counseling.

Asked on May 30, 2009 under Family Law, Alabama

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Alabama is one of a minority of states that recognize common law marriage.  It requires a showing of the following elements:

  • Capacity
  • Mutual agreement to enter a permanent marriage relationship
  • Some public recognition of the relationship as a marriage
  • A public assumption of marital duties and cohabitation

To establish a common law marriage, there must be clear and convincing evidence that the parties lived as husband and wife.  An important issue is whether or not the parties believed, or considered themselves to be married.  Other evidence can be used to establish a common law marriage , such as whether or not the couple shared household expenses, held joint accounts at the bank, or did they file joint tax returns.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption