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Common Law Marriage Connecticut

Common Law Marriage Connecticut

Guide to Common Law Marriage in Connecticut

There are a number of misunderstandings relating to the concept of common law marriage in CT.

Myths abound about common law marriage in Connecticut, including the idea that a couple who cohabits for seven years will be considered legally married.

This guide will separate the myths from the truths so that you can understand whether your marriage will be legally recognized by the state. You’ll also learn about alternatives to Connecticut law on marriage that can help you obtain some of the same benefits as marriage.

History of Common Law Marriage in Connecticut

In medieval England, marriages were considered valid any time a couple made vows to each other and openly represented themselves as husband and wife.

These marriages were recognized under the unwritten (“common”) law of England, and this idea of common law marriage crossed the Atlantic with the earliest English settlers.

People who were common-law married had all the rights and responsibilities of married people. Their children were considered legitimate, and in order to split up, the couple had to go through formal divorce proceedings.

Some states stopped allowing common law marriage as soon as the United States became a nation. Others continued allowing common-law marriages for some time, and while some of these states eventually abolished the institution, 10 still allow it today.

Common-law marriage in CT was never allowed by law, from the time of the founding of the United States. In Connecticut, marriage has only been recognized when a couple makes legally binding wedding vows after obtaining a marriage license.

Is Common Law Marriage in Connecticut Legal?

Common-law marriage in CT is not legal and never has been. However, this only means that there is no such thing as a common-law marriage in Connecticut that gives partners the same rights as to marriage.

There is no law against calling someone your husband or wife, but legally these terms simply do not apply unless you have had a marriage ceremony.

Couples who simply cohabit do not have a common-law marriage in CT, no matter how long they live together. They will not be able to inherit each other’s property or make each other’s medical decisions in an emergency, and divorce is not available if they choose to separate permanently.

Alternatives to Common Law Marriage in Connecticut

If you want some of the benefits of common law marriage in CT but are unable or unwilling to take wedding vows, you may want to talk to a matrimonial attorney.

An attorney may be able to help you by drafting documents that create legally binding relationships between you and your significant other.

This may include wills so that you can legally inherit each other’s property, contracts providing for how to divide your property in case of a split, or medical power of attorney documents to ensure you can visit each other in the hospital.

Out of State Common Law Marriages

Even though you cannot obtain a common law marriage in Connecticut, common-law marriages contracted in a state that does allow them will be recognized as legally binding marriages by Connecticut.

If your common-law marriage was valid in another jurisdiction where you lived, your marriage is maintained no matter what state you moved to.


Common law marriage is a legal concept in which a couple is considered legally married without having gone through a formal ceremony or acquiring a marriage license. This concept is recognized in some states in the United States, including Connecticut. In Connecticut, common law marriage is referred to as “marriage by habit and repute.”

Elements of Common Law Marriage in Connecticut

To establish a common law marriage in Connecticut, the following elements must be present:

1. Cohabitation: The couple must live together as husband and wife.

2. Mutual Agreement: Both parties must agree that they are married and hold themselves out as such to the community.

3. Public Recognition: The couple must be known as married to family, friends, and the community.

4. Intent to be Married: Both parties must have the intent to be married and not just living together as roommates.

In addition, the couple must meet all of the legal requirements for marriage, such as being of legal age and not being closely related by blood.

Benefits of Common Law Marriage

The benefits of common law marriage in Connecticut are the same as those of traditional marriage. A couple in a common law marriage has the right to make medical decisions for each other, inherit from each other without a will, and to receive spousal benefits such as social security and pension benefits.

Moreover, common law marriage makes it easier for couples to establish legal rights without having to go through the formalities of a traditional marriage.

Legal Recognition of Common Law Marriage in Connecticut

Connecticut is one of the states that recognizes common law marriage. However, the state does not have a statute that specifically defines or regulates common law marriage. Instead, the state looks at each case on an individual basis and determines whether the couple meets the requirements for marriage by habit and repute.

Ending a Common Law Marriage

Ending a common law marriage in Connecticut is similar to ending a traditional marriage. The couple has to legally dissolve the marriage through divorce or annulment. If the couple separates without a legal divorce, they may still be considered married under common law for certain purposes.


Common law marriage in Connecticut provides a way for couples to establish legal rights without going through the formalities of a traditional marriage. It is important to understand the requirements for establishing a common law marriage in Connecticut and to take steps to legally dissolve the marriage if the relationship ends.