Obermayer family law attorney Stephanie Winegrad answers questions about common law marriage in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In Pennsylvania you can no longer enter into a common law marriage?
FACT: In 2005, Pennsylvania abolished common law marriages prospectively. Common law marriages entered prior to 2005 are still valid.
We have lived together for 7 years so we have a common law marriage?
FICTION: There is no minimum time period required to establish a common law marriage. You could have a common law marriage for one day.
We hold ourselves out to the community as husband and wife so we have a common law marriage?
FICTION: To establish a common law marriage the parties must have a present intent to marry as evidenced by words of present intent. “You are my husband.” “You are my wife.” An engagement or a promise to marry in the future does not establish a common law marriage.
In New Jersey you can no longer enter into a common law marriage?
FACT: New Jersey abolished common law marriages in 1939 so the couple would have to be over 90 to have a valid common law marriage today.