A man and woman involved in a relationship can have their relationship declared a marriage if a number of elements can be proven by the parties. The statute refers to these as unsolemnized marriages but is more generally referred to as the Common Law Marriage in Utah. If a party wishes to have a common law marriage declared as valid, the party must file a petition demonstrating the following:
- The parties are of legal age and capable of consenting to a marriage.
- The parties are legally capable of entering a solemnized marriage.
- The parties have lived together.
- The parties assumed marital rights and responsibilities.
- The parties held themselves out as man and wife.
You will notice there is no time period requirement such as the requirement that the parties cohabitated for a minimum of “X” amount of years etc. Many people falsely believe they have to have been dating or lived together for a long period of time or something to that effect in order to have a shot at a court declaring them to have a valid marriage. This is not the case. While such requirements may be imposed in other jurisdictions, Utah does not require these kinds of time periods.
When Common Law Marriage Makes Sense
There are few different reasons why a person may want to declare their relationship as a legal and valid marriage. Probably the most common is the case where two people have been living and dating for several years, sometimes have children together, and then later decide to separate. Often the parties have invested their entire life into the relationship and desire the same protections and rights that come with divorce. In situations where the parties meet all of the elements necessary under the law, an individual can seek the same protections and address the same issues as in a regular divorce.
Seeking Legal Representation
Having a court declare your relationship as a common law marriage is no easy task. Seeking legal representation from an experienced St. George Divorce Attorney can substantially improve your chances of correctly going through the legal process. Don’t leave something this important to chance, call and speak with a family law attorney at our firm as soon as possible.