We have all heard of common law marriages. Countless couples throughout Utah live together for years in long-term relationships without exchanging wedding vows. In addition to living at the same property, many couples in common law marriages also have children together or from previous relationships. But what happens when a common law marriage comes to an end? Fortunately, it is not much different from conventional divorce. First, it is important to remember there is no such term as “ common law divorce”. However, there is one major fundamental difference. Couples must prove they are in a common law marriage.
How Common Law Marriage in Utah is Determined
In any long-term relationship, couples will share many things. People involved in common law marriages have the same issues as conventional marriage. The division of property, child custody and visitation are some of the most important.
To prove a common law marriage existed, couples must prove the following:
- Both parties must be of legal age of consent
- Both parties must live together
- Both parties must be capable of entering a legal marriage under the provisions of Utah family law
- Both parties have mutually assumed marital obligations, rights, and duties
- Both parties have established a reputation as husband and wife
Utah family law can sometimes get complicated. Having the right Salt Lake City divorce attorney can be an invaluable asset. When it comes to ending a common law marriage, a highly skilled and knowledgeable lawyer can effectively negotiate on behalf of the client and provide proper documentation to prove their case. Having the right divorce attorney on your side can help the court determine the establishment of the common law marriage.
The Importance of Properly Understanding Your Legal Rights
Many people who cohabitate in long-term relationships do not properly understand their legal rights. By proving the existence of a common law marriage, each party is provided certain legal rights, similar to couples in conventional marriages. In many cases, these rights are rarely brought up until it is time to end the relationship. But when it’s time to settle issues, such as unresolved debts, alimony, personal property, real estate and child custody, the court can only divide these assets equally if common law marriage is established.
Timing Is Everything
Ending a common law marriage in Utah isn’t always easy. It is important to petition the court to recognize the existence of the relationship. It should also be done within one year of the end of the relationship. Should you wait too long, the court may not recognize the common law marriage. Any chance of successfully dividing property, child custody or assets many never become a reality.
A Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney Can Help
Conventional divorce is never easy. But when a couple has lived together in a common law marriage, it can get even more complicated. Fortunately, there are solutions. Salt Lake City divorce attorney Christopher M. Ault understands many of the challenges and obstacles facing couples who are in a long-term relationship and share property and children. He and his legal team at The Ault Firm, P.C. can help provide a variety of family law solutions to protect your rights and interests. To learn more, contact their law office today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.