What’s a “Common Law” Marriage in Wisconsin?
You know what happens when you basically live with a person for a very long time? You become automatically married. Another word for that – by legal marriage requirements – is something called a “common law marriage.”
The Basics of a “Common Law” Marriage
This is a kind of marriage not even requiring a legal document or ceremony. No witnesses are required. No filing for a certificate in a courthouse either. It’s basically a natural marriage by the order of events.
The thing is only several states in the country recognize Wisconsin law on common marriage:
3. District of Columbia
7. New Hampshire
9. Rhode Island
10. South Carolina
There is actually no such thing as a “Common Law” marriage in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, a legal marriage requires a ceremony, witnesses, a certificate filed in the appropriate county courthouse. Those are your legal, traditional marriage requirements.
There are a few different types of Common Law marriage laws, depending on the state. For instance, Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, and Pennsylvania actually do have Common Law marriage laws for the purpose of recognizing such marriages before the date the practice itself was abolished.
The marriage requirements in those states would be just the same for a common law marriage as a traditional marriage so long as the marriage occurred before the state had abolished the practice. Furthermore, Kentucky has Common Law marriage laws in terms of recognizing them from states allowing them only for the purpose of awarding workers’ compensation benefits.
Currently, every state will recognize a “common law” marriage if the marriage was created in a state allowing it. Therefore, it’s possible that there can be a “Common Law” marriage in Wisconsin; in fact, there are probably plenty out there.
Those marriages bound by Common Law marriage laws, though, wouldn’t have been created in the state of Wisconsin, though.
Basic Marriage Requirements for a Common Law Marriage
Believe it or not, there are no legal marriage requirements at all. Not even a couple marriage requirements for Common Law. However, in those states that allow it, there are a few rules not governed by law that would be mandatory (and can be considered Common Law marriage laws, to be honest):
1. Couple Has to Be Heterosexual
2. Cohabitation for a Great Deal of Time
3. Public Declaration of Marriage
And that’s it. There’s not even a set of marriage requirements for any of the states allowing common law marriages, stating the amount of time for cohabitation. It simply has to be for a long time.
In addition, the community has to be able to see that the two people are obviously “married,” in that they keep referring to each other as married, use the same last name, refer to each other as “husband” and “wife.”
This would obviously be the case as well with a supposed “Common Law” marriage in Wisconsin. A “Common Law” marriage in Wisconsin, although created in any of the states allowing it, would only have the rules and regulations in Wisconsin that would be typical elsewhere.