I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
If you can prove that the two of you were common law married, then you can file for divorce and ask the judge to do an equitable property division, just like if you'd gotten married using a marriage certificate. As part of the Complaint for Divorce, you can file a Motion for Use and Possession of the Marital Home, asking the judge to allow you to continue living there at least until the divorce is finalized. There's no such thing as Common Law Divorce - once a common law marriage is entered, it can only be dissolved by court order.
The judge will look at MANY factors to determine whether a common law marriage exists. The most important thing to know is that, contrary to popular believe, a common law marriage is NEVER created solely because people lived together for an extended period of time (but it is one factor). The spouses have to have indicated an intent to be married and held themselves out to the community as a married couple. Some things a judge will consider are:
- Whether the couple had joint bank accounts, credit cards, or other jointly owned assets or joint debts.
- Whether the couple filed joint tax returns.
- Whether the couple shared a last name.
- Medical records listing the other person as a spouse
- Life insurance policies or retirement accounts that list the other person as a beneficiary spouse
- Pictures showing that the two of you wore wedding rings while you were together
- Testimony from family and friends that you held yourselves out as a married couple.
- Evidence of cards ore anniversary gifts exchanged to celebrate when the common law marriage was entered.
Without that evidence, I'm sorry to say, you would be considered her tenant, and you'd be entitled only to 30 days notice before being asked to leave. That makes it very important to gather whatever evidence you can to prove that the two of you were married and not just living together.
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