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Common Law Marriages

You are considered legally married -- despite not having a marriage license, a ceremony, or a marriage certificate -- if your state recognizes common law marriages and you meet certain state law requirements. The majority of states do not recognize common law marriage. The legal criteria for what constitutes a common law marriage typically include carrying on as a married couple and holding themselves out to others as married, in addition to meeting the state's rules regarding who is eligible to marry whom.

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