If you are common law married do you have to file for divorce?

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If you are common law married do you have to file for divorce?

I’ve been engaged for 28 years to the same man we lived together but recently I found out he was

cheating. Can I get alimony?

Asked on November 20, 2017 under Family Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF you met the criteria to be considered common law married, then yes, you would have to file for divorce: once a common law marriage is formed, it is treated like any other marriage, and so can only be ended by divorce.
Your state (SC) was one of the very few that still allowed common law marriage. If you were together for 28 years you *could* be common law married if both of the following applied--just being together for years and years is not enough, by itself, to make you common law married:
1) You both considered yourselves to be married (not just engaged) and held yourself out to others as if you were married.
2) You were both eligible to get married (e.g. not currently married to anyone else; mentally competent).


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