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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102162
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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regarding common law marriage , for VA benefits for surving

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regarding common law marriage , for VA benefits for surving spouse, married in Idaho 1997, divorced a few years later in the state of WA where both lived together, then residents of Arizona for 5 years. lived together for 15 years.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

Thank you for using JustAnswer. What exactly are you asking here in regards XXXXX XXXXX benefits? For example, whether or not your common law marriage would be recognized, etc?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Before I apply and do paperwork, I want to know if I would be eligile as common law spouse.


When you say "common law married" what dates are these? Is this before 1997 (official marriage), or after the divorce, or both?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What is considered common Law.? Married in State of Idaho 1997, But lived in State of WA, divorced after 4 years, but lived together in WA.

Then traveled in motorhome, until becoming residents of AZ 5 years ago.

I just need information. I am in poor health, I cannot use computer good.

So if you can't answer my questions, then cancel our visit.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Are you still working on answer to my questions?


Yes, I am. I needed to know what state and when you lived in when you were married, and you have supplied this information. I am typing out my answer now; apologies in advance for the momentary wait.
Your use of the computer is exemplary, so no worries.

Thank you for your patience.

1) Common law marriage does not exist in Arizona. In other words, the State of Arizona does not allow individuals to enter into a common-law marriage. However, Washington recognizes a common law marriage.

2) Also, the time that you spent married to him from 1997 to your official divorce may be used for application for surviving benefits if it meets all the other criteria.

3) The VA will recognize your official marriage, and it will ALSO RECOGNIZE your common law marriage if you spent the common law marriage years in a state wherein it is recognized - and you did - in WA. It does not matter that you moved to AZ (a state that does not recognize common law marriage) later. A valid common law marriage established in a state recognizing such marriages continues to be valid if the parties later move to a state not recognizing common law marriages.

3) To prove a common law marriage in WA, you need to show that (1) you lived together, (2) you counted yourselves as married, and (3) you introduced yourselves as married to others. This is subjective, but may be achieved via paperwork such as bank statements, etc.

4) As such, I believe that you would qualify for VA benefits for (1) the official marriage, and (2) the common law marriage years spent in WA, even if you now live in AZ.

To file for benefits off a common law marriage, you can use the VA Form 21-4170, Statement of Marital Relationship, here.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your help, will I be able to see all this on my regular email, so I can look at it later. Thanks Dianne

Thank you for your help

You are very welcome!

will I be able to see all this on my regular email, so I can look at it later. Thanks Dianne

I do not believe the site will send this via your email, but you may always simply come back to the url address in your browser to see the answer. For your convenience, the url address is below as well:

Good luck, and please don't forget to rate my answer in one of top three faces and then SUBMIT – it is the only way I get credit for my time with you – or, please REPLY to keep on chatting – I want you to be satisfied.