Legally recognized relationships other than marriage are not a matter of federal law, thus states are permitted to establish their own laws, procedures and benefits when it comes to other legally recognized relationships. When it comes to common-law marriages, not all states recognize them, thus it is important to be knowledgeable of whether your state does permit it, and if so, what laws, procedures and benefits are associated with this relationship. Currently, here are the states that recognize common-law marriages:
- District of Columbia
- Georgia (if created prior to 1997)
- Idaho (if created before 1996)
- New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only)
- Ohio (if created prior to 10/1991)
- Pennsylvania (if created before 9/2003)
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
For those couples who have validly contracted common law marriages, the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution provides that all states must recognize those marriages.
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