A brief guide to common law marriages in Alabama
Two people who are in a relationship may have their status as a married couple legally recognized even without an official license from the state of Alabama.
There are four conditions that must be met if you seek recognition for a common-law marriage in Alabama:
• Both partners must be mentally capable of entering into a formal relationship. This means that common law marriages in Alabama cannot be entered into by two spouses who do not understand the nature of this kind of relationship or the responsibilities it involves.
• Both partners must make the nature of their relationship clear to others. For a common law marriage in Alabama to be recognized, both spouses must inform other people of the relationship.
At all times, both partners must be open and straightforward in making sure others are aware of their marital status.
• A couple must agree to enter into a permanent relationship in order to enter into common-law marriages in Alabama. Sometimes two spouses may be thinking of obtaining a marriage license from the state at a later date. This places the status of their common law marriage in Alabama in question.
• The spouses must have had intercourse. Without this kind of consummation, common law marriages in Alabama will not be legally recognized.
The reasons to enter into this kind of relationship are up to two spouses. However, it is important to be aware that while the court system will recognize a common-law marriage in Alabama in some circumstances, it can lead to many complications. This is especially true if a relationship does not succeed.
If you wish to separate from your spouse, a court may not be able to process a divorce-related to common law marriages in Alabama.
Spouses who are involved in this kind of relationship should make sure to create a will documenting how they wish for their assets and resources to be divided after their death. Failure to do so will make it difficult for a partner in a common-law marriage in Alabama to collect any part of an estate.
In such instances, a spouse who is undertaking the probate process will have to ask a judge to accept their relationship as valid despite the lack of state recognition. This will mean proving that the deceased partner in common-law marriages in Alabama intended for their partner to inherit their estate.
It is important to understand that these kinds of relationships are only recognized by ten states, as well as Washington, D.C. This means that if you move, another state may not necessarily recognize the validity of your common law marriage in Alabama.
In order to have your relationship legally recognized for tax purposes or other reasons, you may have to obtain a marriage license from whatever state you move to. Therefore, if you have a job that requires you to move frequently, common law marriages in Alabama may not be a good alternative to formal marriage.