What States Recognize Common Law Marriage?

Common law marriage is recognized in the following states: Colorado, District of Columbia, Alabama, Montana, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania (if it was entered before 9/2003), South Carolina, Utah, Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio (if entered before 10/1991), Idaho (if it was entered before 1996), Georgia (if entered before 1997), and Oklahoma.

List of “Common Law” Marriage States

The following states allow common law marriages. Each state has different requirements for a long-term relationship to qualify as common law:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia (if the relationship began prior to 1/1/97)
  • Idaho (if the relationship began prior 1/1/96)
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire (inheritance only)
  • Ohio (if the relationship began prior 10/10/91)
  • Oklahoma (Conflicting laws, discuss with a family law attorney)
  • Pennsylvania (if the relationship began prior 1/1/05)
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah

If a court determines that your common law marriage is valid, you will need to obtain a traditional divorce.


References: Common-Law Marriage Definition

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