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Roger, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
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What are the Rhode Island laws governing a common-law marriage

Customer Question

What are the Rhode Island laws governing a common-law marriage and bankruptcy?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

Common law marriage in Rhode Island is established by showing: (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.


If you hold yourself out as married, the bankruptcy court is not likely going to challenge that.


Rhode Island is not a community property state, so one spouse is not legally liable for the individual debts of the spouse. Thus, either spouse can file bankruptcy and have his/her personal debts discharged without effecting the other spouse.


The only time the non-filing spouse is effected is when there is a joint account. In these cases, the bankrupt spouse is relieved of his/her obligation, but the other non-filing spouse remains 100% responsible for the debt.

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