Common Law Divorce

Although common law marriages are not legal in NY, if your marriage occurred in a state that does recognize the practice and you subsequently relocated to New York State, you can have a common law divorce.

A common law marriage is defined as a marriage established by the two parties involved without a license or ceremony.

common law divorcelaws governing common law marriage vary from state to state. Currently, the only common law divorce states are Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and the District of Columbia.

To get divorced in New York, you must be able to show that you were married according to the laws of the state where it occurred. You may need to establish that your marriage is indeed valid in New York State and to do so, you could require assistance from an attorney.

There may be different standards for proof of marriage from one state to another such as testimony that vows were exchanged, cohabitation or reputation as a married couple.

Establishing that a common law marriage is valid is the first step in the process and your attorney can guide you in preparing the right documentation required to initiate the divorce action.

Both child and spousal support in common law marriage divorce are no different than any other divorce in the state of New York. The only difference in the process is the way it unfolds since the couple does not possess a marriage license. Once the common law marriage is verified, the couple may choose to divorce through mediation for a quicker, more peaceful resolution.

At one time, common law marriages were legal in New York. Once a couple had spent seven years living together, they could be recognized as a married couple. In 1933, New York ceased recognizing common law marriages.

Today, when couples live together in New York, they are entitled to fewer rights when they separate than they would have been if they were married. There has been a rising trend of people living together longer as they pursue careers and delay marriage and family commitments.

Whether you have a common law marriage or are living with your partner, when difficulties arise, knowing your rights in New York are an important first step in choosing how to resolve your differences. Alternative Divorce Solutions can offer you clarity about the legality of your relationship arrangement.