Are we common law married and we need to file for divorce?

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Are we common law married and we need to file for divorce?

We’ve been together as a couple for 24 years. She’s known to everybody who we know as my wife and me as her husband. We have no marriage certificate. We did file taxes jointly at least once starting 16 years ago. She left last week to pursue an affair she has been working on for 9 months. She met the man Thursday the 16 and left on a cruise with him in another state. Are we married? Do I need to file for divorce?

Asked on May 22, 2019 under Family Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Your state (South Carolina) does have common law marriage. Having lived together and having indicated an intention to be married (by causing or allowing other people to refer to you as husband and wife) and being publically known as husband and wife, you are in fact common law married. That means that you need to divorce, since common law marriages have to be ended by formal divorces like any other marriages.


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