Many people in the state of Utah are in long-term, committed relationships that are not officially married. These relationships are known as common-law marriages. While these couples are not legally married, they still face many of the same challenges and obstacles as married couples when their relationship ends — including the division of assets and property, as well as child custody issues.
Continue reading about common-law marriages in Utah below.
Utah and Common Law Marriages
Utah does not have common law marriages (in fact, there are only a few states that recognize common-law marriages). Utah does, however, allow a person to petition the court to acknowledge their relationship as a marriage even though they do not have a marriage license. Recognition of the relationship may be requested at the end (or within a year of its end). Also, a petition to recognize the relationship can be filed during the relationship.
For Utah to recognize your relationship as a marriage, either partner must prove the following to the court:
- Both partners are of legal age
- Both partners consent (this means both parties agree that their relationship is a marriage)
- Parties have lived together for a considerable amount of time
- Both partners treat one another as spouses
- Both partners present themselves to others as a married couple
- Both partners can enter a marriage without legal complications
Evidence of Consent
As previously mentioned, both partners are required to give consent for the court to recognize their relationship as a marriage. Moreover, they will need to supply evidence that supports their consent. The following list may prove consent:
- A written agreement
- Testimony of people present when the agreement to take on marital duties was made
- Use of joint bank or credit accounts
- Joint purchase and ownership of property
- Filing taxes jointly
- and more
Benefits of Utah Court Recognition
There are a handful of reasons it is beneficial to have the court recognize your long-term relationship as a marriage. Married couples enjoy the many benefits of a legal marriage, including tax breaks, inheritance and survivor rights, spousal Social Security benefits, and more. As soon as the court determines that marriage exists, spouses will enjoy and have access to all of the benefits that come with marriage. Additionally, they will have legal divorce-related protections if the couple chooses to separate, including:
- Division of property
- Alimony or spousal support
- Portions of pensions or retirement benefits
- and any other rights, benefits, and protections given to a divorcing couple
Contact The Ault Firm
There are always complications when a long-term relationship ends, especially because Utah does not have any common law marriage laws on the books. It helps to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side that can petition the Utah court to recognize your relationship and protect your rights, children, and assets. If you are in the Salt Lake City or West Jordan areas and need representation, call the professionals at The Ault Firm to schedule a consultation today.