There is a common misconception that if you live together for a certain length of time (seven years is what many people believe), you are common-law married. This is not true anywhere in the United States.
While some states do recognize common law if certain guidelines are followed NY is not one of them.
Since you live in a state that doesn't recognizes common law marriage there is no way to form a common law marriage, no matter how long you live with your partner. There is one catch: if you spend time in a state that does recognize common law marriage, "hold yourself out as married," and then return or move to a state that doesn't recognize it, you are still married (since states all recognize marriages that occurred in other states). However, this is murky legal territory and we don't recommend experimenting with it without a experience family law attorney.
Here are those states and their regulations:
Alabama: The requirements for a common-law marriage are: (1) capacity; (2) an agreement to be husband and wife; and (3) consummation of the marital relationship.Colorado: A common-law marriage may be established by proving cohabitation and a reputation of being married.
Iowa: The requirements for a common-law marriage are: (1) intent and agreement to be married; (2) continuous cohabitation; and (3) public declarations that the parties are husband and wife.
Kansas: For a man and woman to form a common-law marriage, they must: (1) have the mental capacity to marry; (2) agree to be married at the present time; and (3) represent to the public that they are married.
Montana: The requirements for a common-law marriage are: (1) capacity to consent to the marriage; (2) an agreement to be married; (3) cohabitation; and (4) a reputation of being married.
Oklahoma: To establish a common-law marriage, a man and woman must (1) be competent; (2) agree to enter into a marriage relationship; and (3) cohabit.
Pennsylvania: A common-law marriage may be established if a man and woman exchange words that indicate that they intend to be married at the present time.
Rhode Island: The requirements for a common-law marriage are: (1) serious intent to be married and (2) conduct that leads to a reasonable belief in the community that the man and woman are married.
South Carolina: A common-law marriage is established if a man and woman intend for others to believe they are married.
Texas: A man and woman who want to establish a common-law marriage must sign a form provided by the county clerk. In addition, they must (1) agree to be married, (2) cohabit, and (3) represent to others that they are married.
Utah: For a common-law marriage, a man and woman must (1) be capable of giving consent and getting married; (2) cohabit; and (3) have a reputation of being husband and wife.
Washington, D.C.: The requirements for a common-law marriage are: (1) an express, present intent to D.C. be married and (2) cohabitation.
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