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What Is Common Law Marriage?

Georgia will only recognize a common law marriages that were established before January 1, 1997.

There are many misunderstandings about common law marriages. One of the commonly held beliefs about common law marriages is that a couple is automatically considered married if they have been living together for at least seven years.

How the Law Defines Common Law Marriage

The conditions of a common law marriage holds that a couple has been living together domestically in a way that resembles a married couple. They present to their families and friends as a married couple. The only difference is that they have not gone through the formal marriage ceremony or applied for a marriage license.

These are the conditions that validate a common law marriage:

  • The couple must have been living together
  • Each person is at least 18 years old
  • Each person has the legal right to marry (also known as "capacity to marry")
  • Each person is of sound mind and understands the seriousness of marriage
  • Each person is not married to someone else
  • The couple has every intention of being married
  • The couple acts as a married couple would, such as sharing bank accounts or introducing themselves to family and friends as spouses

Remember that in Georgia common law marriages are still recognized. If you are wondering what the next step is to make your marriage final? Our Atlanta family law attorneys can help you take the right steps to ensure that your relationship is legally recognized. This will provide you with all of the rights, responsibilities, and many benefits that marriage provides.

The Manely Firm, P.C. provides all of our clients with attentive, personalized legal solutions to any dilemma, no matter how complex. We urge you to contact us right away if you are facing a particularly contentious legal issue. We offer free case consultations.

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