Common Law Marriage


Common Law Marriage

In Pennsylvania, common law marriage was abolished in 2005. Any common law marriage established prior to January 1, 2005 will be recognized, however. In order for a common law marriage to be created in Pennsylvania, simply living together for an extended period of time will not be enough.

To create a common law marriage in Pennsylvania, the parties must have exchanged words of intent to create a relationship akin to marriage and must have held themselves out as being married. If this exchange of words occurred prior to January 1, 2005, then a common law marriage exists and can be terminated by divorce proceedings. The exchange of words must be proven to a court through clear and convincing evidence. There are no magic words that need to be spoken, but, the words must be intended to create a relationship akin to a legal marriage.

In Pennsylvania, it will not be enough to show that you lived together for an extended period of time, shared finances, or otherwise behaved as if you were married unless you can also provide clear and convincing evidence of the aforementioned exchange of words.

Once created, a common law marriage is the same as any other marriage for all purposes and once established, a divorce must be obtained to terminate the relationship.

Common law marriage was abolished in Pennsylvania, but any common law marriage established before January 1, 2005 will be recognized. If you need help, call us at 610-892-3877.

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About Alicia Fastman

Alicia Fastman graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, then went on to complete her Juris Doctorate at the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE. Alicia graduated from law school with pro bono distinction, completed a Certificate in Criminal Law, and focused her intensive studies within the fields of litigation and trial advocacy. Alicia joined LaMonaca Law in April of 2011 and is a Partner at the firm. She was selected as a Top Lawyer in Main Line Magazine in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019 in the areas of Family Law and Divorce and has been named as a Best Lawyer in the areas of Adoption and Trial in the Delaware County Daily Times. Alicia is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Delaware County Bar Associations. Alicia resides in Delaware County with her dog, Leonard. In her time outside of the courtroom or office, she enjoys creating art, listening to podcasts, and spending time with friends and family.