Do I have to get a divorce if I filed as “married, filing jointly” on my taxeswith my then live-in boyfriend 10 years ago?

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Do I have to get a divorce if I filed as “married, filing jointly” on my taxeswith my then live-in boyfriend 10 years ago?

The tax preparer told me this does not mean we are married legally. Well fast forward and I am about to get married to someone and I am worried that this will affect me being able to get married. Am I common law married to my past boyfriend?

Asked on November 18, 2011 under Family Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Listen, God bless the tax preparers for doing their job, but they are not lawyers and I would not necessarily take their "legal" advice.  I am worried here that you could be seen to have committed tax fraud and so I think that you should go and speak with an attorney in your area on this matter as soon as you can.  The general rule about common law marriage - which Oklahoma recognizes is that you have to hold yourselves out to be married.  One of the factors that the court will consider is indeed the filing of a joint tax return.  Please go and speak with some one.  Better safe than sorry, especially while you are on your way to starting a new life. Good luck.


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