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While the requirements for common law marriage vary slightly among states, the two essential elements are cohabitation and "holding out." "Holding out" means the couple's actions tell the world they are husband and wife.
For example, the woman might assume her husband's last name. The property bought by a common law spouse will be split half and half in the event of separation.
Interestingly, the idea of common law marriage actually dates back to medieval England.
Most people are fuzzy on the specifics of common law marriage.Typically, this means the couple has cohabitated for a period of time—usually a year or more—while having an agreement to be married.Also, they must present themselves to the larger world as husband and wife.Despite what you may have heard, the following statements are false.Cohabitation alone does not constitute a common law marriage.If a couple has a child together, they must adopt him/her.Children from a common law marriage have the same rights as those from a legal marriage.That way both names will be listed on the deed as purchasers.Both partners will benefit from any increases in the home's value.However, a judge may choose to first hold a hearing, and after the Ex Parte Order is issued either the judge or the party being sued (the "Respondent") also may request a hearing.The court is also required to hold a hearing in certain circumstances (for example, when the petitioner is asking the court to evict a respondent or to establish parenting time arrangements for children that the parties have together).