October 25th, 2011
A client recently asked me about the status of Georgia common law marriage, and in answering him, I thought it might be a good time for a reminder for all of us (including those in other states) that even if a state no longer recognizes common law marriage, usually such marriages remain valid if formed prior to the date of a statutory enactment prohibiting them. In addition, most states also recognize common law marriages formed in other states.
For example, the State of Georgia recognizes common law marriages formed prior to January 1, 1997, as well as valid common law marriages formed in other states. Under Georgia law, a valid common law marriage may be formed between a man and a woman if they have (1) the capacity to make a marriage contract, (2) actually entered into a nuptial contract (usually proven by evidence of the couple holding themselves out publicly as spouses) , (3) consummated their union by cohabitation, and (4) achieved all of the above prior to 1997.
Why is this important? (more…)