Does common law marriage exist and what are the benefits if it does?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Does common law marriage exist and what are the benefits if it does?

My 44 year old sister has been living with her significant other for the past 11 years in PA. A couple of days ago he came home and told her that she has a week to get out and that the relationship was over. Does she have to vacate the house? The house is in his name and I believe that he has been paying all of the mortgage and utilities. Does she have any rights? He said that he was going to call the police if she didn’t leave and have her removed as a “squatter”. She has a marginal job and is also an alcoholic. Does he have any responsibility for her at all?

Asked on September 23, 2011 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Common law marriage has been abandoned in every state, including Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania ruling came down in the mid-2000s from a court ruling that no longer recognizes common law marriage in your state of Pennsylvania. If your sister has lived with her common law husband since 2005 (not sure of exact date), Pennsylvania may still recognize it as common law if they reached the status of common law before the law came down. Among general factors include holding themselves out as common law spouses and doing all the things that make a traditional mortgage. Your sister should immediately consult an attorney because she may have property rights or a right to a portion of his property. Ultimately, she may also be entitled to spousal support. She should consult with a family law/divorce attorney immediately.


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 lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption