If I have a common law marriage, am I eligible for regular divorce rights?

UPDATED: Aug 18, 2011

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If I have a common law marriage, am I eligible for regular divorce rights?

My “husband” I have been living together for 10 years. We moved into our current home that is in his name only, after being together a year. Am I entitled to half his assets like any other divorce? Does it matter who asks for the divorce?

Asked on August 18, 2011 Rhode Island


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Lucky for you that Rhode Island is one of those sates that recognizes common law marriage.  If you qualify (and I hate that you used quotes when referring to your spouse; try not to do that; it looks as if you are not definitive on the matter) in that you have told the community that you are married, called each other husband and wife, use the same last name, filed joint income tax returns, etc., then you are entitled to all the rights of a married couple when you file for divorce.  That means that you are entitled to a distribution of marital assets, that the court considers that assets purchased during a marriage are assets of the marriage regardless of whose name they are in, you can apply for support, etc.  Now remember, you have to file for divorce even though you never had a wedding.   And it does not matter who files for the divorce.  Good luck.

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