Making the Tough Times a Little Easier Schedule a Free Phone Consultation

Rhode Island Common Law Marriages: The Complete Guide

Gene Kirzhner Oct. 9, 2017

Common law marriage might sound like a simple term. However, common law marriages are far from simple. There are a lot of misunderstandings and myths surrounding this type of marriage. Rhode Island has some unusual laws regarding common law marriages. To help you understand those laws, here’s a guide to Rhode Island common law marriages.

Common Law Marriage

There is no single definition of common law marriage because every state has different requirements. However, a common law marriage is a marriage that occurs without a legal ceremony. Many people believe that a state recognizes a common law marriage after a couple lives together for a few years. However, this is not true. While most states require cohabitation for a certain period, that period varies. There are also other requirements to meet the legal definition. Depending on where you live, you might need to announce your marriage status to friends and family.

Not every state recognizes common law marriages. For example, the state of New York does not recognize this type of marriage. While California might recognize a common law marriage from another state, inhabitants of California cannot legally make a common law marriage. Only 11 states recognize this type of marriage, and Rhode Island is one of them. Each one of those eleven states has its own requirements for the marriage. While the wording in the legislation varies, they do have similar requirements.

Rhode Island Common Law Marriages

Rhode Island has some very specific rules regarding the definition of a common law marriage. Before you can understand if you’re in this type of marriage, you need to know the requirements. Those requirements were created by the Rhode Island Supreme Court. If you want to prove that you have a common law marriage, you might need to do so by filing a Superior Court lawsuit or by standing before the Rhode Island Family court. They may recognize common law marriages from other states, but that also requires court approval.

Showing that you have a marriage that meets the requirements of Rhode Island common law marriages may not be simple. It all depends on your situation, and the judge decides. Additionally, the court doesn’t hold you to a single standard. They look at your overall situation and decide whether your relationship is a common law marriage. Here are a few things that you may need to prove for the Rhode Island courts to recognize your marriage:

1. Proof of cohabitation

Don’t buy into the myth that living together is enough to have a common law marriage. In Rhode Island, the length of time that you and your partner live together is not relevant. You could live with the same person for 50 years and still not have a common law marriage. There are several other requirements that you need to meet. If you fail to meet them, then you don’t have a common law marriage.

While you do need to show some proof of cohabitation, it could be for a short period. It’s more important that you try to meet the other requirements for common law marriage. Once you do, even a short period of living together could be enough to satisfy the court.

2. Show intent of marriage

If you want to have a common law marriage, you need to make it obvious that you and your partner intend to be married. You need to make it obvious that you and your partner want a marriage together. There are a few ways that you go an about this. First, you can take on your partner’s last name. Doing so shows the court that you and your partner are serious about marriage.

Another sign of intent is wearing a wedding ring. You and your partner can purchase and wear rings on the appropriate finger. In addition to showing a commitment to each another, the rings also show the public that you want a marriage.

3. Be out as a married couple

In the public eye, you and your partner need to carry yourself as a married couple. You need to address each other as husband and wife. It can also help if you make a formal announcement to your friends and family telling them that you are married.

Common Law Divorces

If you have a relationship that meets the requirements for Rhode Island common law marriages, you need a divorce to terminate the relationship. Unlike an unmarried relationship, you can’t end things without a legal agreement. However, it’s important to note that your marriage needs to be recognized if you want a divorce. If you and your partner don’t ask the state to recognize your marriage, a divorce is unnecessary.

Common Law Divorces Work the Same Way that Typical Divorces Occur. During the Divorce, You and Your Partner Need to Agree on A Way to Split up Your Joint Assets. if You Can’t Come to An Agreement, You Need to Figure out The Division in Court. It Can Be a Long Legal Battle that involves lawyers and multiple court appearances. If you have questions about your relationship and its common law status, contact a lawyer for answers.