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What States Allow Common Law Marriage?

This is a little known fact: Although you probably hear about common law marriage a lot, only a handful of states even allow common law marriage anymore, and the number that do allow it keeps decreasing as those states realize common law marriage just ends up causing more problems than it is worth.

Only Nine States Still Allow New Common Law Marriages

To be exact, as of 2020, only eight states still allow common law marriages to be formed in them. An additional five states allow common law marriages, but only if those marriages were formed before a specific date (meaning new common law marriages are allowed).

However, all 50 states must recognize common law marriage validly created in other states that allow them. So if you formed a common law marriage in a state listed below and then move to another state, your new state will be forced to recognize your marriage as valid.

States That Allow Common Law Marriage

The following states allow common law marriage:

  • Colorado
  • Florida – but only if formed prior to Jan. 1, 1968
  • Georgia – but only if formed prior to Jan. 1, 1997
  • Indiana – but only if formed prior to Jan. 1, 1958
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • New Hampshire
  • Montana – allowed because not explicitly prohibited by state law
  • Ohio – but only if formed prior to Oct. 10, 1991
  • Pennsylvania – but only if formed prior to Jan. 1, 2005
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah

How an Affidavit of Marriage Can Help to Legalize a Common Law Marriage

Signing an affidavit of marriage will help ensure your common law marriage is legally valid. In it, both partners swear that they are married to one another. Again, this will only work in states that allow common law marriages.