So you’ve been with your partner for a long time. It’s time to start considering yourselves common-law married, a sort of “marriage-like” status that triggers when you’ve lived together for seven years. Right?
Nope. That’s all bogus.
For one, common-law marriage, which traces its roots to old English law, isn’t a nationwide thing. It exists in only a small number of states. Unless you live in one of those states, getting hitched will involve an official “I do” ceremony. Alabama had been one of the states that recognize common-law marriages, but it recently moved to abolish it, a trend that has been taking place nationwide for years.
Also, that common-law marriage kicks in after partners live together for a certain period of time? That’s a flat-out myth.”By far the most common number is seven years,” says family law professor Marsha Garrison of Brooklyn Law School. “I’ve never figured out where that may have come from and why it’s seven years.”Couples may eschew a formal, licensed marriage for any number of reasons, like hesitating to make a public commitment or never getting around to making it official. That means you may be passing on the big expensive party or the dreamy walk down the aisle, but common-law marriage is as real and legal as marriage gets. It means you are eligible for all of the economic and legal goodies afforded to couples with marriage licenses — like tax breaks and inheritance rights.
Click the link below to read the full article on NPR.