O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C.

Most marriages are the results of at least a visit to the courthouse, if not an elaborate wedding. Couples make formal arrangements to make their relationship official in the eyes of the state and their community. However, not every couple goes through the same process to commit to one another. Some couples spend their entire lives together without ever formally marrying. Some of these people may have common-law marriages. A common law marriage involves a couple acting like they have married one another and holding themselves out to the community as a married couple despite never getting a certificate from the state or making formal vows to each other.
Newer relationships won’t lead to common-law marriage
\r\nHistorically, Pennsylvania has recognized common-law marriages, but that changed long ago. For a common-law marriage to receive legal recognition in Pennsylvania, the couple needs to have met the criteria for a common-law marriage prior to January 1, 2005. Any relationship that started after 2005 or that only met the criteria for common-law marriage after the change in law will not be a common-law marriage in the eyes of the Pennsylvania family courts. If you have been with the same person since the 1990s, have lived with them, and have shared finances, you may technically have a common-law marriage. The same situation dating back to 2007, however, would not be a common-law marriage. Your status can impact your rights if you split up with your partner or if they die without leaving an estate plan. Learning about laws in Pennsylvania can help you better protect yourself’,’

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