Common Law Marriages

Are Common-Law Marriages Valid in New York?

Common-law marriages are not valid marriages in New York State. Such marriages were abolished in New York since 1933. However, New York will recognize a common-law marriage that is valid in the state were it was contracted.

Approximately a dozen states and the District of Columbia will permit common-law marriages to be entered into within their borders. Each state has different requirements of proving the validity of such marriages.

According to the New York family law, the court will extend recognition to out-of-state common-law marriages of New Yorkers. For example, it is sufficient to show some minimum contacts with a common-law marriage state in order to activate the law of another state. Precedent New York decisions have liberally interpreted the requisites for a valid common-law marriage in another state. These New York cases found that a common-law marriage was created by the couple during a brief visit to a common-law marriage state.

The law to be applied by New York in determining the validity of an out-of-state alleged common-law marriage, is the law of the State where the marriage occurred.

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