Do you live with your significant other?

Maybe both of you want to be married but do not want to go through the hassle of marriage licenses and paperwork.


I completely understand.

If this is you, have you ever heard of a common-law marriage?

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What is common law marriage?

According to the Find Law,

"Common law marriage is one in which the couple lives together for a period of time and holds themselves out to friends, family, and the community as "being married," but without ever going through a formal ceremony or getting a marriage license."

There are different requirements for the states that allow it since simply 'living together' is not enough.


What qualifies you to be in a common-law marriage?

  • You must live together

The time that you have to live together varies depending on what state you are living in.

  • You both have the legal right to be married
    • 18 years old or older
    • Both parties are of sound mind, and
    • Both parties are not married to anyone else legally
  • You both have to intend to be married
  • You both must acknowledge each other as a married couple to your family and friends

Does Michigan allow common-law marriages?

Unfortunately, no. But they did at one point.

Michigan abolished common-law marriage in 1957. However, if you got married in Michigan before 1957, the state will recognize the marriage.

With all that being said, Michigan will recognize common law couples from the states that do recognize it, according to Iafrate Salassa Family Law Firm.

You can also receive a divorce for a valid common-law marriage in Michigan as well.

What states recognize common law marriages?

  • Colorado
  • D.C.
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas, and
  • Utah

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