Common Law Marriage in Florida

A Brief Look at Marriage and Immigration in Florida

Learn what it is and where it's recognized.

A "common law marriage" is one in which the parties may hold themselves out as a husband and wife, and under certain circumstances, be deemed married without a marriage license or ceremony.  Florida doesn't have a common law marriage, however Florida does recognize common law marriages that occurred in other states.

What's Below:

If my partner and I live together long enough, won't we have a common law marriage?

Contrary to popular belief, even if two people live together for a certain number of years, if they don't intend to be married and present themselves to others as a married couple, there is no common law marriage. More particularly, a common law marriage can occur only when:

  • a heterosexual couple lives together in a state that recognizes common law marriages
  • for a significant period of time (not defined in any state)
  • holding themselves out as a married couple -- typically this means using the same last name, referring to the other as "my husband" or "my wife" and filing a joint tax return, and
  • intending to be married.

Unless all four are true, there is no common law marriage. When a common law marriage exists, the couple must go through a formal divorce to end the relationship.

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Which states recognize common law marriage?

Common law marriage is recognized only in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only)
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
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