For those who are in common law marriages in Alabama, or who plan to enter into that type of marriage before the end of the year, it’s important to know that changes are being made to the laws surrounding those types of unions. Essentially, the practice of common law marriage is going to end in the state beginning on the first of January, 2017. Many other states have already done away with common law marriages, and Alabama is planning on following their lead. However, that doesn’t mean that current common law marriages will no longer be valid.
Enter Into Marriage By the End of the Year
Under the new law, all currently valid common law marriages will remain valid. Additionally, anyone who enters into a common law marriage by December 31, 2016 will still find that marriage legal when the new law takes effect. For those who wait beyond that time, common law marriage will no longer be a legal option that affords them any specific spousal rights or protections. For those who wish to be married after that date, they will need to get a marriage license and have a legal or religious ceremony.
What Has to be Done to Be Common Law Married?
Becoming common law spouses in Alabama before the end of the year doesn’t require a license or ceremony. The current law requires a couple of have an agreement to enter into marriage and to present themselves to the public as a married couple. This can mean referring to one another as husband and wife, filing joint tax returns, having a joint bank account, or engaging in other activities that would commonly be done by those who are married. There are very few states that still allow for common law marriages, and more states will likely do away with the practice in the future.
Seeking the Advice of an Attorney When a Relationship Ends
Regardless of whether a couple is married officially or in the common law system, if the relationship ends, many matters will need to be addressed. When this happens, working with a lawyer who understands the intricacies of dividing assets, establishing support and determining child custody, is generally advisable.