Common Law Marriage
Common law marriage is one of the most confusing types of partnerships that many people find themselves unknowing a part of. Legally, it is counted as a marriage, although there has been no legal marriage ceremony performed or acquisition of a marriage license. This can cause a great deal of confusion for those who find themselves a part of this law.
Common law marriage is a form of union that takes effect after a couple has lived together for a certain period of time. The amount of time is set on a state or provincial level, which further adds to the confusion. However, once a common law marriage is determined as established, you have the access to many of the same benefits of those who are fully married. This allows for households to enjoy tax credits for those who do live together but do not want to commit to marriage or religious reasons or personal benefit. The usual time frame for common law marriage to take effect is six months.
There are some rules that surround common law marriage. The primary two that most people have to worry about are the criteria that must be met in addition to the length of time that the couple has lived together. The first of these is that the couple must behave as though it is married. This means that the pair must show to the world that they are like husband and wife although they have not had any legal ceremonies. In addition to this, the couple in question must both be of legal age of marriage in the district that they live in.
While the country or region that you live in directly affects common law marriage, most areas have one thing in common. Once you have entered a common law marriage, the only way to dissolve it is through court. This means that you must file for a divorce like a true married couple. This is due to the fact that those who have entered into a common law marriage are treated just like a true married couple. Once you have established that the relationship exists and make use of its benefits, the government sees little to no difference in the couplings, and requires court actions to dissolve such a relationship.
In some countries, such as Canada, common law marriage also applies to those of the same gender. Canada has some tighter requires for common law marriage, such as having a child or having lived together for at least a period of one year or more. Some provinces have stricter requirements, such as Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick.
England and Wales do not have any common law marriages, nor any rights to those who are in such a union. Common law marriage was abolished in this region of the world in 1753.
Australia and its surrounding regions have different common law marriage rules depending on where in the area you are at. Some of the laws pertaining to this area do not allow common law marriage, while others do. If you are in this region, it is considered wise to visit a lawyer to determine if you are applicable for common law marriage
In the United States, only eleven states and the District of Columbia permit common law marriage. Like in many other areas around the world, the only way to get out of one of these marriages is through legal proceedings in court.