Common Law Marriage in Pennsylvania
One of the most common misconceptions among people in Pennsylvania is that a common law marriage can be created if a couple lives together for a specific period of time. More often than not, these individuals believe that a common law relationship is created when a couple lives together in the same residence for a period of seven years or more.
The State of Common Law Marriage in Pennsylvania
The commonwealth of Pennsylvania eliminated common law marriage in 2005. In other words, from that point in time forward, a couple in Pennsylvania cannot end up in a in this type of legal relationship. Marriages of this type that existed prior to 2005 remain legal marriages despite the change in law.
Requirements for Common Law Marriage in Pennsylvania
Living together is only one of the requirements to establish a common law marriage (again, prior to 2005). In addition, a couple must engage in activities commonly associated with a lawfully married couple. For example, a couple maintains joint bank accounts.
Finally, in order for this type of relationship to exist, the relationship must be notorious. What this means is that the couple must hold themselves our publicly as husband and wife.
This test is applied to purported common law marriages entered into prior to the 2005 date. If all of these requirements are not met, no common law marriage exists.
Divorce and Common Law Marriage
Although no formal action was taken to establish a common law marriage in the first instance, a divorce case must be pursued in order to bring such a legal relationship to an end. Terminating a common law marriage through divorce proceedings represents the same process for couples who formally wed.
A person that entered into a valid common law marriage in Pennsylvania prior to 2005 in need of a divorce is best served by retaining the services of an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney. A Pennsylvania divorce lawyer had the capabilities necessary to protect a client’s interests when ending a common law marriage through marital dissolution proceedings. A Pennsylvania divorce attorney will schedule an initial consultation with a prospective client interested in obtaining a termination of a common law marriage.