Will I have protection if I have a common law marriage?

| Jul 7, 2021 | Unmarried Couples |

A common law marriage is where you and your partner live together as a married couple for a set number of years. The problem is Florida does not recognize common law marriage, so there are no protections for you under this type of law.

NPR explains in a state where common-law marriage does not exist, you have zero protection for your relationship that you would have if you were in a marriage.

Benefits

There is a plus side to not having common law marriage in Florida. That is if you want to end your relationship, if you have a common-law marriage, you must go through a divorce. Since there is no such arrangement in this state, if you want to break up, you can just do it without any legal hassle.

You will not be on the hook for spousal support or lose your assets that you can prove belong to you alone.

Downsides

The downside to not having a recognized common law marriage is you do not get any of the benefits of marriage or divorce. You will not get tax breaks or have inheritance rights. You will not get to claim any assets your partner owns or make a claim for spousal support.

One note

Florida did previously recognize common law marriage. If your relationship met the requirements prior to the state abolishing it, then you can have a common-law marriage in the state and all the benefits that come along with it. You may need to seek legal assistance to see if you meet the requirements of the grandfather clause allowing common law marriage.