Common Law Marriage in New York: Answers To 8 Frequently Asked Questions

Common-Law Marriage in New York Answers To 8 Frequently Asked Questions

In the past, it was not uncommon for couples to live together without being legally married. This is still a common practice in many parts of the world. When these couples have children or other dependents, they may want to establish some rights and protections related to child custody and property division in case something happens to one partner. This article provides answers to frequently asked questions about civil marriage in New York so that you can make an informed decision about your marital status.

What is a common-law marriage?

A common law marriage is when two people are considered to have a legal relationship with one another, even though they do not have an official ceremony or obtain a license.  Some states recognize these types of marriages and others don’t. New York does not recognize them at all, but there are several exceptions in the state’s Domestic Relations Law that will allow parties who were married by cohabitation for seven years to be able to bring up common law marriage during divorce proceedings.

Things can get complicated quickly when it comes to what constitutes cohabitation before marriage, as each situation varies greatly from case to case. The only way you would know if your spouse had grounds for suing under this type of theory is to consult with an experienced divorce attorney.

Common-Law Marriage and Domestic Partnerships

A couple can qualify for a common-law marriage even if they are already in the process of getting divorced. However, this is not true when it comes to domestic partnerships because these two types of relationships are very different from one another.

If you were not married but you lived together like a married couple, then you might need to prove this. But this is only if your partner wants to get divorced and has to prove that they lived like a married couple. The burden of proof always lies with the party who is claiming that something occurred between them and their spouse, so having sufficient evidence on your side should never become an issue if there was indeed a valid partnership.

Common-Law Marriage Versus Regular Marriage

In a common-law marriage, there is no official ceremony or license that you get. The only time when New York state recognizes these unions is during divorce proceedings.  If you were married by cohabitation for seven years, then your New York state divorce case can use this fact as a way to obtain a favorable ruling.

The only other time New York state recognizes common-law marriages is when it comes to the rights of next-of-kin after someone has passed away. In addition, New York allows same-sex couples who have been in committed relationships that are not recognized under New York’s Domestic Relations Laws to be able to get certain rights and benefits from one another during life or at death if they do meet these criteria.

What is the legal effect of common law marriage?

The legal effect of a common-law marriage is very similar to that of an official, state-sanctioned marriage. This means that you and your spouse will have all the same rights and responsibilities as any other married couple in New York. These include things such as inheriting property from one another, being able to make medical decisions for each other in the event of an emergency, and even qualifying for spousal support payments if you should ever become divorced down the road. Just like with any other marital relationship, there are also certain debts that spouses can be held liable for if they were incurred during the union.

What does New York law say about common law marriage?

As of right now, New York does not recognize any common law marriages that may have been formed between two people. This means that New York state common law marriage is not recognized by the courts and only legal spouses can bring up claims during divorce proceedings. As mentioned above, there are some exceptions under Domestic Relations Law 240(l) which will allow parties who had an informal union for seven years before getting divorced to invoke this type of claim. However, if they already obtained a civil annulment or dissolution then these rights can no longer be brought forward because all unions created through cohabitation must last at least seven years for them to be valid under the eyes of the court system.

When was common law marriage abolished in New York?

New York abolished the common law concept of marriage in 2010. This means that there is no such thing as New York state common law marriage and partners must obtain a civil license before getting married if they wish for their relationship to be legally recognized. Couples who choose not to do this may still enter into an informal union, but it will only hold up under New York’s Domestic Relations Laws if one or both parties have been separated from their spouse for at least four years before filing for divorce during these proceedings. Otherwise, New York does not recognize common-law marriages formed by cohabitation

There are many benefits associated with having your New York domestic partnership certified through the process of obtaining an official certificate, such as gaining access to New York’s family leave laws.  For more information on domestic partnerships in New York state, please visit our website or contact a local family law attorney who can help you get started. You may also find this guide from NYU helpful in understanding how common law marriage works and what it could mean for you and your partner if you choose to enter into this type of union. Good luck!

How to dissolve a common law marriage in New York?

If you and your partner have been living in New York and are considered to be in a common-law marriage, then you will need to go through the standard divorce proceedings to terminate the relationship. This means that one of you will need to file a petition with the court system and provide evidence that supports your case. You can find more information about how to do this by visiting the website for your local family court. The good news is that there are no specific grounds that need to be proven for a common-law marriage to be dissolved- as long as both parties agree to the termination, it can happen relatively easily.