A common law marriage occurs when a couple lives together for a certain number of years (generally more than 10) and holds themselves out as being married (by introducing the each other as a spouse, or by stating they are married on forms). Common law marriage was created so that people who have lived as if they are married in every way except having the legal piece of paper could be treated as if they were actually married.
Arizona does not permit common law marriages. However, Alabama, Colorado, Washington D.C., Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas are states that have created common law marriage recognition laws. If couples in these states live together for the set number of years and hold themselves out as being married, they become legally married in the eyes of the law. If a couple in one of these states wants their marriage to be recognized in Arizona, a court in their home state has to first formally recognize them as being married, then Arizona will treat the marriage as a legal marriage.
Couples in Arizona who live together, have children, and act as if they are married are never considered legally married. If they break up, they are not eligible to get a divorce. However, Family Court is available to handle child custody and child support. There is no spousal support available for an unmarried couple in Arizona. Likewise, there is no property division available in Family Court, but small claims courts can be used a last resort if there is a dispute about ownership.
Contact the attorneys at the Sampair Group for help with your divorce and family law matters in the Phoenix, Mesa, and Glendale areas. Make an appointment with one of our skilled attorneys today.