The information provided on the 211 eLibrary is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal advice.
WHAT IS COMMON-LAW MARRIAGE?
Common-law marriage is an informal or non-ceremonial marriage, created by an agreement between a man and woman who have the legal right to marry. People who enter into a common-law marriage usually do not comply with legal formalities such as a marriage license. Connecticut does not recognize, and has never recognized, common-law marriage. Currently, only Alabama, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah recognize common-law marriages. Because Connecticut does not recognize common-law marriage, a man and a woman cannot enter into a common-law marriage in the state of Connecticut.
OUT-OF STATE COMMON LAW MARRIAGES
Connecticut’s Courts have followed the “…generally accepted rule that a marriage that is valid in the state where contracted is valid everywhere . . . . unless for some reason the marriage is contrary to the strong public policy of the state required to rule on its validity.” (Delaney v. Delaney)¹ This means that a common-law marriage recognized as valid in one of the states cited above will generally be accepted as valid in Connecticut. However, because common-law is established by court rulings rather than by legislation, people who have a common-law marriage, and then become residents of Connecticut, should not assume that their common-law marriage is automatically valid in Connecticut. If there are any legal disputes related to the common-law marriage, it may take a court ruling to establish a common-law marriage as valid. People who have a common-law marriage, and are considering a move to Connecticut, should consider consulting with competent legal counsel before moving to Connecticut.
- “Common Law Marriage in Connecticut”¹, Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Library;
- Connecticut General Assembly Office of Legislative Research "Common Law Marriages" Report # 2010-R-0112
PREPARED BY: 211/kq
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: February2013
Return to elibrary list.