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Question: my partner & I have lived together as man & wife since 1992 with same house, bank accounts, file income tax, federal & state together. Will Georgia recognize this if anything happens to him. I have a power of attorney as he has had cancer but health is fine now. I am 70 yrs and he is 64 & both have been married before, my ex husband is deceased but his ex wife is alive. He has two children and they have children. I have three children with homes of their own. I don't know if we will marry as we both had very bad experiences.... Response: It depends. In order to find a common law marriage, the two parties in the relationship must agree that they are married, live together, and hold themselves out as husband and wife. In Georgia, only common law marriages formed before January 1, 1997 are recognized. See 1996 Georgia Act 1021. So, if you meet these requirements, your relationship would be recognized as common law in Georgia and thus you would be entitled to all your rights as a spouse. Also, your narrative indicates that you have documentation to support your claim of a common law marriage by way of joint tax returns, bank accounts, living together in the same house, etc. You need to make sure that you keep careful records of all documents just in case someone should question your claim in the future. Nonetheless, if your partner is not agreement that you have been husband and wife before 1997, then the best way to secure your rights as the spouse would be to get married.
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