At The Zwiebel Law Firm, we practice family law and often help couples who have decided not to legally marry but want to have many of the same benefits of married couples through common law marriage.
In Alabama, you are considered married by common law if you have been living together as a married couple. In order to be considered married by common law you need to represent to the outside world that you are husband and wife. An example of this would be taking each other’s name, giving your children a single family name, signing a lease agreement in the name of husband and wife, and even putting yourself on each other’s bank accounts as if you were actually married. Essentially, you need to act married and portray yourself as such in order to be considered married by common law.
Common Law Marriage Requirements
In order to be considered married under common law you need to be –
- Living together as husband and wife
- Share in marital duties and obligations
- Over the age of 14
- In mutual agreement that you are going to be married under common law
The benefits of being married under common law include the ability to inherit should one of you pass away. You also have benefits if one of you became sick. For example, a married partner would be able to speak with a doctor etc., where someone who is not legal family would be unable to do so.
Common Law Marriage is Going Away
In Alabama, common law marriages will no longer be recognized starting in 2017. While this has been the law for some time, starting in 2017 there will be no more couples recognized under the common law statutes. You need to file with the court now if you want to be recognized in the future.
How to Protect Yourself
You need to go to probate court and file documentation showing that you are in a common law marriage prior to January 1st, 2017. At The Zwiebel Law Firm, we can help you to do so. By ensuring that the documents are completed and filed correctly, we can ensure that your legal status is preserved. Otherwise, you could wake up in February of 2017 without the legal protections and rights that you are entitled to currently. Once this happens, your only option will be to go through the process of technically becoming married.
Schedule a Consultation and Get the Help You Need
We can provide you with more information about these changes when you schedule a consultation. Contact The Zwiebel Law Firm at 205-623-1001 or through our easy online contact page.