307.1 What is a common-law marriage?
A “common-law marriage” is one in which neither a religious nor civil ceremony was held. In certain States, a common-law marriage may be entered into if a man and a woman agree to be married for the rest of their lives. Most States (even those in which a man and woman cannot enter into a valid common-law marriage) generally recognize a common-law marriage that has been validly entered into in another State.
307.2 What are the requirements for a valid common-law marriage?
The basic requirements for a valid common-law marriage (in addition to other requirements in some States) are that both parties must:
Be legally capable of contracting a valid marriage with each other;
Contract the marriage in a State that recognizes common-law marriages;
Have the intent to be married;
Consider themselves husband and wife; and
Mutually agree to become husband and wife from that time on.
Last Revised: Feb. 6, 2003