I Have Been In A Relationship With My Partner For Years And We Have Represented Ourselves As Married. Are We In A Common Law Marriage In Florida?
A “common law marriage” is a situation in which couples have lived together for a number of years and have presented themselves as married.
Typically this includes filing joint tax returns, using the same last name, and telling others they are married. In some jurisdictions, couples who enter into a common law marriage are considered legally married even though they never actually went through a marriage ceremony.
Under Florida law, no common law marriages entered into after 1968 are valid. However, some jurisdictions recognize common law marriages, and if a couple entered into a common law marriage and then moved to Florida, that couple generally still retains its married status in Florida.
If a couple decides to break up, whether or not they are considered to be legally married (or in a common law marriage) can have a big impact on what happens.
If they are in a marriage the assets and debts will be divided in a divorce, and if the couple has children, custody arrangements and child support will be decided.
If the couple is not married, the partners could lose out on rights they would have had if they had been married, including Social Security benefits, inheritance rights, and rights to certain accumulated assets.
If you have been in a long term relationship that is coming to an end, and you have children and/or assets, you probably have questions about your legal rights.
It’s important that you speak with a family law attorney, who can help you work through these issues.