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Common Law Marriage Washington

Common Law Marriage Washington

What is Common Law Marriage: Washington?

Common-law marriage is an uncommon type of union between husband and wife.

Only a few states in the U.S. recognize common-law marriage; those states that allow the formation attach strict requirements for validation purposes.

In general, the following requirements must be satisfied to engage in a common-law marriage: Contact Washington lawyers for legal advice and assistance.

How to get a Common Law Marriage in Washington

1. Common law marriage WA: You must ascertain if the state you are living in allows common-law marriages. Remember, only a few states—plus Washington D.C.—allow common-law marriages.

Currently, only Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Montana, Rhode Island, Texas, South Carolina, Washington D.C., and Utah recognize common-law marriages.

2. Common law marriage WA: Typically, there four general requirements to validate a common-law marriage. The first requirement is: you and your partner must live together. Maintaining the same residence is crucial to recognize common-law marriage.

3. Common law marriage WA: Secondly, you are required to present yourselves to the public—and family and friends—as a married couple. Presenting yourselves as a couple can be achieved by using the same last name, filing joint tax returns, and/or referring to one another as wife or husband

4. Common law marriage WA: Although the time constraints are not universally defined, you and your spouse must be together for a significant period of time before securing a common-law marriage

5. Common law marriage WA: The last requirement of securing a common law marriage is that you and your spouse must intend to be married. This means that you and your spouse must go before a court of law or official and declare that you wish to be married

Although common-law marriages are not legal in every state, federal law states that every jurisdiction in the nation must recognize as valid a common-law marriage formed in another state.

Therefore, if you and your couple secure a common law marriage in another state, all jurisdictions in the U.S. must uphold the original declaration—if you travel to another state you will remain married via common law.

Can I Receive a Common Law Marriage in Washington?

Washington does not recognize common-law marriages; a common-law marriage WA does not exist.

That being said, the state will recognize a pseudo common law marriage WA if you and your prospective spouse cannot receive a common-law marriage Washington.

Because you cannot receive a common law marriage in Washington, there is no way to successfully form a common law marriage, no matter how long you live with your partner.

That being said, if you secure a common law marriage in another state—one that does recognize common law marriages—you may “hold yourself out as married.”

In this situation, if you move to the state of Washington, you formally maintain your common-law marriage. Remember all states recognize marriages that occur in other states.

Common Law Marriage Washington: Everything You Need to Know

Marriage is often described as one of the happiest occasions in life. It is that stepping stone that marks the beginning of a long and fulfilling journey with your partner. However, marriage is not always the obvious choice when it comes to living with someone. For many couples in Washington, common law marriage has become an attractive option. However, many people still don’t understand the intricacies of common law marriage in Washington. In this article, we will discuss common law marriage in Washington, its advantages, disadvantages, and how to enter into it.

What is Common Law Marriage?

Common law marriage is a term that is often used to describe a relationship in which a couple lives together without getting married. It is not a legal concept that gives couples any legal rights, and it is not recognized as a legal relationship in some states. However, in other states like Washington, couples can opt to have a common law marriage.

In some states, you can become married under common law if you live together as husband and wife for a certain length of time, usually around seven years. However, in Washington, this isn’t the case; you don’t need to live together for a certain number of years for your relationship to be considered as common law marriage. Instead, there are specific requirements that need to be met before a couple can be considered legally married.

Requirements for Common Law Marriage in Washington

In Washington, for a couple to be considered as married, they must establish the following:

1. Cohabitation: The couple must live together with the intention of getting married. It means that they should live under the same roof and use the same address for legal documents or orders.

2. The legal age of marriage: They must have attained the legal age of marriage, which is 18 years. However, a couple can get married if they are 17 years old, provided they have written approval from both their parents or guardians.

3. Present marital status: At the time of cohabitation, both partners must not be married to any other person, in a domestic partnership, or engaged.

4. Mutual consent: The couple must have agreed to be married and must mutually consent to live as husband and wife. They must have the intention to establish a marital relationship that is permanent, exclusive, and monogamous.

5. Public policy: The relationship must not be against public policy. It means that the court must not recognize the couple as married if their marriage would be illegal, such as in cases of close blood relationships or incestuous marriages.

Advantages of Common Law Marriage in Washington

One of the significant benefits of common law marriage is that it provides legal recognition to a couple’s relationship when there is no formal marriage ceremony. This recognition can be crucial in many areas, including:

1. Inheritance: If one partner dies without having a will in place, the surviving partner may not be entitled to any of the deceased partner’s assets. However, if the couple is in a common law marriage, the surviving partner may be recognized as a spouse and may have inheritance rights.

2. Property Rights: Property ownership can be a big issue between unmarried couples. If one partner has paid for the home in which both partners reside, the other partner may not have any legal claim on the property if they are not married. However, if the couple is in a common law marriage, they may have similar property rights to a married couple.

3. Health Benefits: Many employers extend health benefits to the spouses of their employees. If a couple is in a common law marriage, they may be considered as spouses, making them eligible for employee benefits.

Disadvantages of Common Law Marriage in Washington

While there are significant advantages of common law marriage, there are also some disadvantages.

1. Legal Complexity: Common law marriages can be legally complex, and laws vary from state to state. It can be difficult to understand your legal rights and obligations in a common law marriage.

2. Lack of Protection: Without a formal marriage, couples do not have the same legal protections under the law as married couples. For example, if a common law couple separates, there may not be any clear rules on the division of their property.

3. Lack of Universal Recognition: Not all states recognize common law marriages. If a couple moves to a state that doesn’t allow, or recognize common law marriages, their union may not be legally recognized, which can have major implications.

How to Prove Common Law Marriage

There are different ways to establish a common law marriage. Here are some of the ways that a couple in Washington can prove that they are in a common law marriage:

1. Through Documentation: The couple can use legal documents, such as an affidavit, to prove their common law marriage. They must provide sufficient evidence to prove that they have lived together and that they have mutual intent to be married.

2. Common Law Marriage Dissolution: If a couple files for a divorce, they can prove that they were in a common law marriage. The court will examine and scrutinize the relationship to establish if the couple was in a marital relationship.

3. Co-habitation: If a couple has been living together for a long time, their date of cohabitation can be used as proof that they have been in a common law marriage.


Common law marriage is a legal concept that has been recognized in Washington. However, the requirements for a common law marriage differ depending on the state’s law. To be considered as married in Washington State, a couple must establish their mutual intent to be married, cohabit, and reach the legal age of marriage. Multiple benefits come with common law marriages, such as inheritance rights, health benefits, and property rights. However, there are also legal complexities and a lack of universal recognition throughout the states that can make it very difficult. It is essential to understand the legal implications of common law marriage and the rights and obligations it confers.