Does New York Have Common Law Marriage

March 28th, 2024

If you live in The Empire State, you may have heard of common law marriage in New York or pondered whether it is legal in the state. While common-law marriages may be recognized in other jurisdictions, New York has its position. There are multiple methods to start a family. 

Common-law marriage might seem like a casual way to be together, but it can have big legal consequences. Understanding common-law marriage can help you choose the right path for your relationship. Having an experienced attorney can allow you to make more educated decisions about this matter.

Quick Summary:

  • New York’s Stand on Common Law Marriage.  Common-law marriages are not recognized in New York State for relationships that start within its borders. The state requires a marriage certificate and an official ceremony for a couple to be considered legally married.
  • Recognition of Out-of-State Common Law Marriages. New York will acknowledge a common-law marriage if the couple meets the requirements in a state where it’s recognized, adhering to the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution.
  • Proving a Valid Common Law Marriage. To prove a valid common-law marriage from another state, couples must show they intend to be married, present themselves as married to others, are not currently married, and live together as a married couple.
  • Protecting Rights Without Common Law Marriage in New York. Those in non-marital partnerships can still protect their rights in New York by creating cohabitation agreements, designating beneficiaries, making wills, and crafting parenting plans.
  • Divorce Considerations for Common Law Couples. In New York, partners who are not legally married cannot file for divorce, which impacts their rights to alimony and asset division; however, child custody and support are treated equally for married and unmarried parents.
  • Domestic Partnerships in New York. New York does recognize domestic partnerships, which provide certain legal and financial protections to couples who live together but are not married.

What is Common Law Marriage?

A common-law marriage is a union between two persons who live together as a couple and have not had a traditional wedding event or gotten a marriage permit. The notion of common-law marriage dates back to England, and it was created in order to preserve rights of partners who were unable or unable to participate in traditional wedding ceremonies.

In the United States, common-law marriages are governed by state-specific statutes and regulations. A few states accept common-law marriages; others do not. The prerequisites for forming a common-law marriage differ by state, but in broad terms, both partners must live together, portray themselves as married, and plan to marry.

What’s the Difference between Domestic Partnerships and Common Law Marriage?

Although common-law marriages and domestic partnerships appear to be identical, they differ in terms of criteria and rewards.

A common-law marriage occurs when an unmarried couple resides together and presents themselves to friends and relatives as married despite never having had an official wedding or a marriage certificate.

A domestic partnership is a legally accepted homosexual or heterosexual couple who do not wed and live together in an arrangement of mutual caring, dedication, and assistance. These partnerships offer the pair with some of the same fundamental legal and financial safeguards as well as estate planning advantages that married couples receive.

What is New York’s Position on Common-Law Marriages?

New York State doesn’t acknowledge common-law marriages for couples formed inside its boundaries. This implies that no matter how long a couple has been together or if they believe themselves married, they will not be legally wed in New York unless they obtain a marriage certificate and hold an official marriage ceremony.

Does New York Recognize Common-Law Marriages from Other States?

If you completed the needs for a common law marriage while residing in another state, New York will regard your union as legal marriage. Under the Constitution, each state must grant “full faith and credit” to a neighboring state’s public acts.

How Do I Prove I Got a Legitimate Common Law Marriage from Another State?

The requirements for demonstrating a legitimate common-law marriage differ by state.

However, you will often need to verify that:

  • Despite the fact that you did not get a permit to marry or hold an official ceremony, you and your partner decided to consider yourselves married.
  • You have presented yourselves as spouses, which simply means you’ve acted in a way that would make people believe you’re married.
  • Neither of you are officially married to anybody else, and
  • You and your partner have resided jointly in the manner that couples often do, sharing the joint obligations and duties of married individuals.

There is no one determining criterion. It is the couple’s overall way of life altogether that contributes to their distinction.

How Can I Safeguard My Rights as a Common-Law Couple?

If you are in a common-law relationship in New York, you can still protect your freedoms and desires. Some of these metrics are:

  • Make a cohabitation agreement. Is an enforceable document that defines every partner’s rights and duties in the marriage. It can address issues including property distribution, monetary assistance, and custody of kids.
  • Designate those who will benefit. Make sure your common-law partner is listed as the receiver on your life insurance rules, retirement accounts, and other finances to make sure they get these rewards in the case of your death.
  • Create a will or estate plan. A good written will or estate plan can guarantee that your common-law spouse gets all of your properties and possessions after your pass.
  • Parenting agreements. If you have kids together, you should create a parental plan that explains each parent’s duties for custody, visits, and assistance. This might serve as a legal foundation for subsequent choices and negotiation.

Is Divorce Possible after a Common Law Marriage?

If a couple is not lawfully wed, New York doesn’t regard them as wedded and can’t get a divorce. This implies they may be unable to seek alimony, asset division, or other rights afforded to married couples. Child custody and support are dealt with the same regardless of whether the spouse is married or unmarried.

Does New York Recognize Domestic Partnerships?

Yes, New York acknowledges domestic partnerships. It is a binding relationship between two people who live together and have a deep commitment to the relationship but do not marry. For example, has a domestic partnership registration that enables couples, including same-sex couples, to register their relationship and get specific privileges and advantages.

More Questions on Common Law Marriage? Call Donato Law Today!

A common-law marriage might be a complex procedure. So, if you’re confronting this difficulty, you should call an experienced family law lawyer

Compassionate and dedicated, we understand the intricacies of laws surrounding common-law marriages. With over two decades of experience, we can effectively guide you through legal complications, always keeping your best interests at heart.

Our firm offers comprehensive services, from:

When you partner with Donato Law, you’re not just getting legal assistance – you’re gaining a caring partner who understands your struggles and will fight for your favorable outcome. Schedule your Free Consultation now!

Comments are closed

Copyright © 2021 Donato Law All Rights Reserved. | Powered by Advantage Attorney Marketing & Cloud Solutions