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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses Common Law Marriages and Maryland Law

Written by Amar Weisman » October 16, 2015 »

Are There Common Law Marriages in Maryland? 

No. There are no common law marriages in Maryland. 

What are Common Law Marriages? 

A common law marriage is defined as "a relationship in which a couple lives together but has not participated in a lawful ceremony."

Can you still have property rights without a common law marriage?   


What might allow you to have property rights without a common law marriage? 

Possibly, consistently paying a mortgage even if you are not on the title and/or paying some or all of the down payment. This is called a "constructive trust" and the way to obtain your share of real property is called a quiet title action. 

What other shared property interests *might* exist besides  real estate? 

Pets--they are treate4d a little differently. 

Without a common law marriage, can you sue for custody or collect child support? 


What states have common law marriages? 

  • Alabama.
  • Colorado.
  • Georgia (limited by date). 
  • Idaho (limited by date). 
  • Iowa.
  • Kansas.
  • Montana.
  • New Hampshire (inheritance issues only).
  • Ohio (limited by date).
  • Pennsylvania (limited by date). 
  • Rhode Island.
  • South Carolina.
  • Texas.
  • Utah (after validation by court or administrative order).
  • Washington, DC. 

Are There Benefits to Common Law Marriages?

Actually, there are a number of benefits. Typically, those in common law marriages enjoy the same rights as couples who have had legally-binding marriage ceremonies. That means they have rights to survivor benefits, along with inheritance rights. Couples in common law marriages might also qualify for other benefits, like health insurance through their employers.

However, in order to get the benefits, the couple might be asked to demonstrate the validity of their common law marriage. To provide such proof, they would need to demonstrate that every aspect of their state's laws has been fulfilled.

It should also be noted that even those who have formed a marriage without a legal ceremony will still be required to go through a legal action in order to divorce each other. There is no such thing as a common law marriage divorce -- and simply parting ways or splitting up will not end the marriage.

If you have questions about common law marriage or if you have recently moved to Maryland from a state that recognizes common law marriages, contact the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC to discuss your specific case further.

Call For a Free Consultation with a Lochearn & Towson Family Law Firm. 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore & Towson Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.