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  1. #1
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    Common-law marriage in the US

    Recently I posted this on one of the closed men's forums, based on research I did some years back on the long-defunct Lee Raconteur site. Because so much hogwash circulates about common-law marriage, this might be a useful reference for some of you.

    By the way, most other countries don't have any real equivalent to common-law marriage, which is simply the idea that if you and a woman live together long enough, you legally become husband and wife.

    Here's what I posted:

    After looking into actual common-law reality here in the US some years ago for another men's forum, I found there was a lot of folklore about it.

    Only a small number of US states ever had common-law marriage. In those few, which still include Texas, there was no magic "seven-year period" shacking up together for becoming husband and wife. As a rule, you simply had to present yourselves as husband and wife and do some other things such as combine finances. Then there was no minimum period. You can become common-law married immediately if you and your significant other do those things.

    Those states today are Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah, plus the District of Columbia. Montana is a special case because its state law is silent about the subject. Common-law marriage isn't specifically "legal" or "illegal" there, so technically it's allowed.

    A few states had it and have done away with it. These states are Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania eliminated it effective 1 January 2005, making it the most recent to do so. Indiana ended it back in 1958. In all five states common-law marriages formed before the cutoff are valid.

    Most US states never had common-law marriage. In fact, in most states cohabitation (= unmarried man and woman shacking up) was illegal, and some states enforced this into the 1980s. It didn't suddenly become legal and the man and woman didn't suddenly become married simply because they had shacked up for a long time. It was technically illegal no matter how long they had been together. This was true in my state of Virginia, but when I was young, I heard a lot of people warn about shacking up turning into common-law marriage here—even though that could not have happened in Virginia. The folklore is pretty old.

    Generally, those states that never had it do recognize other states' common-law marriages, though, because of the "full faith and credit" clause in the US Constitution.

    Hope this helps, as if any of you are trying to rush into shacking up with a woman. But the trends elsewhere in the Anglosphere, and the "meretricious relationship" provision in Washington state bear close watch.

  2. #2
    Administrator Unboxxed's Avatar
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    Re: Common-law marriage in the US

    A quasi-official MGTOW motto:

    "Do not marry. Do not cohabitate. Do not impregnate."
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    Suitable for bookmarking: www.fakehatecrimes.org and www.breitbart.com/tag/hate-crime-hoax

  3. #3
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    Re: Common-law marriage in the US

    Still a pretty big issue in Canada. And I see no reason the US won't follow suit. Gotta keep the money flowing to single mothers.

  4. #4

    Re: Common-law marriage in the US

    I read somewhere that the original purpose of common law marriage was to allow couples who wanted to get married, but didn't have easy access to a judge or minister, a way for them to live together and effectively get married without a judge or minister (in order not to be in violation of any laws prohibiting shacking up). This makes sense to me, given the both parties had the intention of becoming legally (and voluntarily) married.

    Leave it to f'king American lawyers to twist it into something that would allow them to extract resources from one (non-voluntary) party to another.

  5. #5
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    Re: Common-law marriage in the US

    Actor William Hurt Sued by Dancer Who Claims to Be Common-Law Wife

    NEW YORK (AP) _ The divorce claim against actor William Hurt by his former lover goes to court Monday where she is asking for half of his earnings over the past 6 1/2 years even though she admits they were never formally married.

    Hurt, who married someone else in March, is estimated by the plantiff’s lawyer to be worth about $10 million.
    Sandra Jennings, 32, is basing her claim on four weeks that she lived with Hurt in Beaufort, S.C., while he was filming ″The Big Chill.″ South Carolina recognizes common-law marriages, while New York, where they lived most of the time, does not.

    ″This is a divorce action,″ said Jennings’ lawyer, A. Richard Golub. ″I want to establish the marriage, and then I think she should get half of everything he earned from 1982″ to when they are divorced.
    . . . Jennings sued last year to get $16,000, a month claiming she and her child were living in near poverty. She later decided to argue that a legal marriage existed under South Carolina law.

    Golub’s position is that the blond, bespectacled Hurt ″is a bigamist because he got married while he is already married to my client.″
    https://apnews.com/article/b93c97a87...d08bb84b0f0290



    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Member K-Dog's Avatar
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    Re: Common-law marriage in the US

    Quote Originally Posted by CPRA View Post
    Actor William Hurt Sued by Dancer Who Claims to Be Common-Law Wife

    NEW YORK (AP) _ The divorce claim against actor William Hurt by his former lover goes to court Monday where she is asking for half of his earnings over the past 6 1/2 years even though she admits they were never formally married.

    Hurt, who married someone else in March, is estimated by the plantiff’s lawyer to be worth about $10 million.
    Sandra Jennings, 32, is basing her claim on four weeks that she lived with Hurt in Beaufort, S.C., while he was filming ″The Big Chill.″ South Carolina recognizes common-law marriages, while New York, where they lived most of the time, does not.

    ″This is a divorce action,″ said Jennings’ lawyer, A. Richard Golub. ″I want to establish the marriage, and then I think she should get half of everything he earned from 1982″ to when they are divorced.
    . . . Jennings sued last year to get $16,000, a month claiming she and her child were living in near poverty. She later decided to argue that a legal marriage existed under South Carolina law.

    Golub’s position is that the blond, bespectacled Hurt ″is a bigamist because he got married while he is already married to my client.″
    https://apnews.com/article/b93c97a87...d08bb84b0f0290



    The story was from 1989, and she lost. Get this: the New York court ruled that they were not common-law married even under South Carolina law.

    Hurt passed away earlier this year.


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