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Are Common Law Marriages Recognized In Maryland?


The laws regarding common law marriages, within the state of Maryland, are complex. But, by being aware of them, it’s easier to determine whether or not establishing a common law marriage is the right choice. 

What Is A Common Law Marriage? 

A common law marriage is a marriage that was made without conducting a formal ceremony or obtaining an official marriage license. Some examples of a common law marriage are as follows:

  • A husband and wife who purchased rings for one another and consider themselves married, but never conducted an official ceremony or obtained an official marriage license.
  • A husband and wife who conducted a ceremony that was not in the presence of a licensed minister or anyone else who is qualified to conduct such a ceremony.
  • A husband and wife who consider themselves husband and wife, but do not own marital rings and have never obtained an official marriage license or conducted a ceremony.

Every single one of the examples above serves as an example of a common law marriage. 

Are Common Law Marriages Recognized In Maryland? 

The simple answer to this question is “No.” Common law marriages are not recognized in Maryland and, as such, a couple who wishes to establish a common law marriage within the state of Maryland will be unable to do so.

What this means, then, is that if two people wish to get married in the state of Maryland, they must go through the official procedures. But, if they don’t, then they won’t be officially recognized as being married.

Some of the procedures that two people must go through, to get married in Maryland, are as follows:

  • Submit an application for a marriage license.
  • Obtain a marriage license from the Maryland county in which they reside.
  • Conduct a civil ceremony.

Every single one of these procedures, along with a variety of others, must be performed. By doing so, two people can get married in Maryland and, in turn, their marriage will be recognized as legally valid. 

Is A Common Law Marriage Recognized In Maryland If It Was Initiated Out-Of-State? 

A couple who enters into a common law marriage that was obtained in another state can remain in this marriage while in the state of Maryland. The marriage will be recognized as legally valid and, as such, they can enjoy a variety of benefits from this marital arrangement.

The reason Maryland recognizes common law marriages that were initiated out-of-state is due to their courts prioritizing the stability of families, especially in matters of separation and child custody.

Contact A Maryland Family Lawyer Today

Even though you cannot set-up a common-law marriage in Maryland, if you are currently in one that was initiated out-of-state, it will be recognized.

Contact a Bel Air family lawyer at Schlaich & Thompson Chartered today and we will assist you in dealing with any problems or difficulties that arise in setting up a valid marriage.




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