What Is A Common Law Marriage And Why Does It Matter?

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Common-law marriage exists when two people reside together and refer to each other as husband and wife but have not obtained a marriage certificate or completed a formal wedding ceremony. There are some states that recognize this as a legal union, allowing for tax benefits, health insurance benefits, and the ability to assume Power of Attorney to assist with medical decisions for the spouse as needed, for example. A formal ceremony and marriage may not be important to a couple or suit their lifestyle, and with common law marriages, they are still able to benefit from a legal union, as recognized in some states.

Does Massachusetts Recognize Common Law Marriage?

There are a number of states that recognize common law marriage, but Massachusetts isn’t one of them. Massachusetts does, however, recognize the legal unions of those that obtained common-lawmarriages in other states, as long as the legal requirements of those states have been met. In other words, the only way to create a recognizable common law marriage in the state of Massachusetts is to have obtained one in another state prior to moving toMassachusetts.

How Can I Ensure I’m Receiving the Same Benefits with My Partner as Those of a Married Couple?

If you don’t currently have a recognized common-law marriage from another state, you can either choose to get married or apply for a domestic partnership. A domestic partnership may address issues such as shared medical coverage or hospital visitation rights. A legal marriage, however, opens the door to many more possible benefits such as child support, pension benefits, financial support, transfer of assets upon death, rights to inheritance, and others. At O’Connor Family Law, we have assisted many couples in obtaining benefits to their union in ways that worked for them so that as needs and situations arose, they were able to rest easy, knowing that the benefits they wanted to receive were now an option.

How Can O’Connor Family Law Support Me in My Common-Law Marriage Questions?

As an experienced family law firm, we have helped multiple couples in the past determine what benefits they were in need of to determine the next steps. You can discuss with us what your priorities are as a couple, how those may change in the future with age, and we can help you visualize benefits you may not have thought of yet that you may want access to in the future. We can also help to determine whether your common-law marriage from another state is recognized hereand discuss whether a domestic partnership or a legal marriage is the best route to take in your situation.

Contact us today at (774) 315-4220.

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