Family Law binder

HOW DOES COMMON-LAW MARRIAGE WORK?

People define common-law marriage as an informal marriage. It is usually a unity between a couple that has been together for a long time while living together and possibly having children despite not having been legally married. While some people believe that they are in a common-law marriage with their partner after spending seven years or more together, this is entirely untrue. There are only a few states that recognize common-law marriage, and New Jersey is not one of them. 

As a result, someone who believed they were in a common-law marriage may now be concerned. What will happen to their belongings and everything they acquired during the relationship? If this is a situation you are in, DeZao Law explains things in detail for you.

Does Common-Law Exist in New Jersey?

New Jersey is one of many states that does not currently recognize common-law marriage as a legally binding agreement in which two people are married to one another and sharing everything, including assets that are earned throughout their time together. NJ doesn’t legally recognize common law marriage. So couples that end up deciding to separate may want to know what will happen to their belongings. 

It may still be necessary to hire a divorce attorney when dealing with this type of situation. The reason it is still ideal to hire an attorney is to get through the process of figuring out what will happen to assets belonging to both parties that were in the relationship, along with how the custody agreement will be decided between both parties.

What is the Difference Between Common-Law Marriage and Traditional Marriage?

Couples may feel like they are in a traditional marriage with one another because they live together; have a joint bank account, and share everything they own. But there are differences between a common law marriage and a traditional marriage. NJ common law marriage means the couple does not have a marriage license and has not had a formal ceremony. With a traditional marriage, both parties must receive a license to marry. Neither person in the relationship should be currently in marriage to anyone else. 

In addition to obtaining a marriage license, the couple would need to have a formal wedding in front of an officiant and a witness, such as a parent, sibling, or even a friend. If these things have not happened, but the couple feels like they are in a marriage, it is usually because they are in a common-law marriage. Unfortunately, New Jersey does not recognize a common-law marriage as a legitimate marriage.

In a Common Law Marriage and Considering Separating? Let DeZao Law Help

If you are in a common-law marriage with your partner and you are thinking about separating, you might assume that you need to go through the traditional divorce proceedings, but this is not the case. However, you will still need to hire an attorney that handles common law marriage and divorce. 

At DeZao Law, we can make sure you have a good understanding of your rights as someone who was with another person for many years, even if there was no traditional marriage involved. Call us today at (973) 358-6134 for expert legal advice!

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