What Is Common Law Marriage in Virginia


What Is Common Law Marriage in Virginia?

Common law marriage is a type of marriage that is recognized in some states, including Virginia, even though the couple has not obtained a marriage license or had a formal wedding ceremony. In Virginia, common law marriage is known as “marriage by habit and repute.” It is important to understand the requirements and implications of common law marriage in Virginia to ensure that you are legally protected.

Requirements for Common Law Marriage in Virginia:

To establish a common law marriage in Virginia, the couple must meet the following requirements:

1. Mutual Agreement: Both parties must have a mutual understanding and agreement that they are married.

2. Cohabitation: The couple must live together in the same household.

3. Public Recognition: The couple must hold themselves out to the public as being married. This can include using the same last name, referring to each other as husband and wife, and filing joint tax returns.

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9 FAQs About Common Law Marriage in Virginia:

1. Is common law marriage recognized in Virginia?

Yes, common law marriage is recognized in Virginia. However, it is important to note that the state no longer allows new common law marriages to be formed. Only those established prior to July 1, 2016, are recognized.

2. How long do you have to live together in Virginia to be considered common law married?

There is no specific time requirement in Virginia for establishing a common law marriage. It is based on the couple’s intent, behavior, and public recognition.

3. Do both parties need to agree to be common law married?

Yes, both parties must have a mutual agreement to be considered common law married.

4. Can a same-sex couple have a common law marriage in Virginia?

Yes, Virginia recognizes common law marriages for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

5. Do common law married couples have the same legal rights as formally married couples?

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Yes, common law married couples in Virginia have the same legal rights and responsibilities as couples who obtained a marriage license and had a formal wedding ceremony.

6. How do you prove a common law marriage in Virginia?

To prove a common law marriage in Virginia, you may need to provide evidence such as joint bank accounts, joint property ownership, shared bills, and affidavits from friends and family who can testify to your relationship.

7. Can a common law marriage be dissolved in Virginia?

Yes, a common law marriage in Virginia can be dissolved through a divorce, just like a formal marriage.

8. What happens if a common law married couple separates in Virginia?

If a common law married couple separates in Virginia, they will need to go through the divorce process to determine issues such as property division, child custody, and alimony.

9. Can a common law married couple get a legal separation in Virginia?

Yes, common law married couples can obtain a legal separation in Virginia, which can address issues such as spousal support and child custody while they remain legally married.

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In conclusion, common law marriage, or marriage by habit and repute, is recognized in Virginia for couples who meet the requirements. It is essential to understand the legal implications and seek legal advice to protect your rights and responsibilities. Whether you are considering entering into a common law marriage or need assistance with the dissolution of a common law marriage, consulting with a family law attorney is highly recommended.