Common Law Marriage: How to Divorce?

By Andrew Lu on February 28, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

You may know about a common law marriage, but what about a common law divorce?

Just as couples who have an official ceremony may eventually divorce, couples who enter into a common law marriage may also divorce.

But while it may not have taken any special planning to get married, it may take some special planning to end that common law marriage, reports Yahoo!

Common Law Divorce Doesn't Exist

If you're getting divorced, you'll have to follow the procedures for divorce in your state. It doesn't matter if you had a religious ceremony for your marriage, eloped in Vegas, or entered into a common law marriage. The divorce process will be the same in all the circumstances.

So depending upon where you live, you'll have to follow the procedures for filing a divorce, answering divorce petitions, entering mediation if necessary, and reaching a divorce settlement or ruling.

If Your State Doesn't Recognize Common Law Marriage

You may be in luck if you are seeking a divorce from a common law marriage in a state that doesn't recognize common law marriages. This is because your marriage may not be legally recognized in the first place, so there will be no need to go through the divorce process.

In fact, only a few jurisdictions recognize common law marriages including Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington D.C., reports Yahoo! And some other states like California will recognize a common law marriage if it was entered into in one of these states.

So unless you live in one of these states, there may be no need to get a divorce at all.

Contact a Lawyer

You should work with a lawyer when getting a divorce regardless of how you got married. A common law marriage does not mean you can get a "common law divorce" simply by splitting up. Instead, you'll have to follow the complicated legal process.

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