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No More Common Law Marriage in Alabama

With this new year comes a new change in Divorce Law in Alabama. Namely, the end has arrived for the institution known as Common Law Marriage.

Common Law Marriage is something that I believe was originally created to create a family more easily when children were involved. The basic of it are simple: if a couple tells everybody they are married and they act like they're married...then they are married. However, the reality of it is much more complex. For example, if a couple tells everyone they are married for 20 years, then they go get a marriage license and have a ceremony but get divorced five years long have they been married? Is this a 5 year marriage? Or 25 years? The difference can be very important for the division of assets and for alimony! This has historically fallen on the Court to determine.

Starting January 1, 2017, Alabama no longer recognizes new common law marriages. However, one that has been in place prior to that date is still recognized. Unfortunately, this usually only becomes important when the couple decides to divorce.

As with most of the other issues in Family Law, if you need help with this or any other legal problem, you need to consult an attorney who practices in the Family Law area. Contact me at 205-759-1949 to set up a consultation today!

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