Only statutory marriage is legally valid in North Carolina.
Indeed, North Carolina is one of the few states that never has recognized common law marriage. We should be clear on a key distinction here. Common law marriage is not the same as a couple "living together. A cohabiting couple do not necessarily consider themselves married in fact, they almost certainly don't think of themselves that way.
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Currently, the following states plus the District of Columbia recognize common law marriages as valid for their residents:. In a common law marriage, the couple may not apply for a marriage license or whatever similar public records are used in their jurisdiction and may not hold a public ceremony before witnesses to memorialize their marriage. Nevertheless, they will be entitled to every legal benefit and protection that applies to all married couples, if their state government recognizes common law marriages as legitimate.
If you and your spouse were married via common law in another U. If you have a common law marriage, the courts are still going to be involved in your divorce.
Which States Recognize Common Law Marriage?
Some people have misconceptions about how common law divorce works. Since they got married without officially being sanctioned by the state or any religious institution, they believe that they can also separate without worrying about the law or the courts. This is false. Common law divorce follows the same procedures as traditional divorce. As North Carolina does not allow for common law marriage, your marriage, by definition, must have originated in another state.
To be eligible to get a common law divorce within the state of North Carolina, you must prove that at least one spouse has lived in North Carolina for the past six months. The divorce process for common law married couples is the same as those who have a statutory marriage. Enforceable rights to alimony, child support, and property division will all have to be considered and agreed or ruled upon in court if no agreement between the couple is reached.
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What is Common Law marriage? Statutory Marriage State statute explains that North Carolina does not, and never has recognized common law marriage.
Are there any exceptions where common law marriage might be recognized in North Carolina? These are: If a couple has Power of Attorney for one another. If a couple each has Power of Attorney for the other, this enters them into a contractual relationship which could mean that common law marriage is then recognized. However, there is still a possibility that this could be contested and overruled in court.