Common law marriages do not exist in the state of Arizona. Regardless of the time spent cohabitating or shared property, common law marriages in Arizona is not recognized and the only way to be married is through the appropriate ceremony. Laws forbid common law marriage in Arizona through setting specific standards for a wedding to be recognized as well as conditions that when present would make a marriage invalid and subject to annulment. Common law marriages in Arizona does not factor into child support obligations, which exist regardless of the marital status of the biological parents.
What are the three elements to a recognized marriage in Arizona?
The Arizona Revised Statute 25-111 notes that three things must be secured in order for a marriage to be valid:
- A marriage license
- An individual authorized by law to marry couples solemnizing the marriage
- Marriage solemnized before the license expires
Common law marriages in Arizona would contain none of these provisions and as such, no individual can be part of a common law marriage in AZ.
Will out of state common law marriages count as common law marriage in AZ?
Yes, the state will recognize a common law out of state marriage as a common law marriage in Arizona, as long as that marriage in that state is valid under the laws of that state. This does not extend to same sex couples from any state. This is not an absolute provision, but rather expresses the possibility that the state may recognize a common law marriage in Arizona as long as it originates from one of the few states that still allows it.
Is there a community property law related to common law marriage in AZ?
A common question that accompanies concerns about common law marriage in Arizona is the presence of a community property law, meaning that the surviving spouse is responsible for the debts of the deceased. Though Arizona has this law, since there is not common law marriage in Arizona, then any individual that cohabitates will not be responsible for the debts of the deceased.