The idea of common law marriage isn’t new, but it’s becoming more popular in California. Almost half of the state’s residents live in such marriages. Some states allow only married couples to remarry, while others allow single people to remarry, as well. And California is one of the latter states where you can remarry 50 years into your relationship.
Proving the validity of your common law marriage (or marriage by common law) is not a quick or simple task, but it can be done.
To learn what you need to do, read below.
You can show your bank statement join ownership of one or more.
The death of either spouse does not automatically terminate the marriage. Even in the case of the death of a spouse, there is a two-year window in which you may be able to prove that you are a legal spouse of the decedent. To prove common law marriage, you need more than proof of cohabitation. You also need to prove a valid marriage, which can be difficult considering many states don’t legally recognize common law marriages.
Joint property deeds, including motor vehicles, real estate, etc
When two people marry, they enter into a legally binding contract, known as a marriage contract. This contract has specific legal elements, such as their (legal) names, their wedding date, and where they live. When a couple marries, legal title to all joint property, including real estate, motor vehicles, and other tangible property, is held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. This means that if one person dies, their surviving spouse automatically becomes the property’s sole owner (or “tenant-in-common”).
Insurance policies naming the other party as beneficiary
Married couples may name each other as beneficiaries on life insurance policies, retirement plans, and bank accounts. These plans benefit both spouses equally. However, reviewing the beneficiary designations on all insurance, retirement, and bank accounts is important.
Birth certificates and school records naming both parties as parents
If you are attempting to prove common law marriage, you will need some documents to prove who the spouse is—and that’s why birth certificates and school records naming both parties as parents are one of the simple ways to prove common law marriage.
Employment records listing the other party as a spouse or partner
Employment records listing the other party as a spouse or partner is one of the simple ways to prove common law marriage in California. While other factors like cohabitation, intention to marry, and sexual relations can provide evidence to prove common law marriage, employment records can be key to providing this kind of proof.
Documents of credit card or bank loan statements and others that reflect shared financial obligations for both parties
If you’re wondering how to prove a common-law marriage, there are several ways. One simple solution is to maintain a shared credit card account (with both names on the card). Simply having a joint credit card account can be enough to get a judge to rule that you and your spouse are common-law married. But other documents, like a shared lease agreement, can also be used to prove your marriage, so it’s important that you keep all pertinent paperwork, including bills, bank statements, shared insurance documents, and lawyer bills.
Marriage is the bond between two people and is one of the most important relationships in your life. But many people get married without understanding all of its legal and responsible aspects. This is why it is so important to understand common law marriage.