Common law marriage to end in Alabama

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Common law marriage has been abolished in most states, and soon, the practice will end in Alabama.

A new law takes effect January 1, 2017, Al.com reports.

It was proposed by Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, during the last legislative session.  It effectively ends the practice of common law marriage in the state.  Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill on May 3.

Common law marriages must be entered into by December 31, 2016 to be considered valid in Alabama.

How can one become common law-married?

  • A couple is not required to have a ceremony conducted by a public or religious official
  • Couples are not required to have a marriage license
  • In the past, Alabama law had only required to people have an agreement to enter into a marriage relationship and then present themselves as married to the public
  • Proof of marriage could include jointly filing tax returns, having a joint bank account or just referring to themselves as “husband” and “wife”

Only a handful of states still have common law marriage: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

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