Unmarried couples and the U.S. Constitution

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2022 | Unmarried Couples |

Unmarried couples in Florida face many obstacles that married couples do not have to contend with. Since Florida abolished the rights to a common law marriage many years ago, unmarried couples do not have many of the legal rights that married couples in the state enjoy.

This has implications when it comes to inheritance rights, tax breaks and many other financial aspects.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause

Information from Interactive Constitution illustrates that this clause in the U.S. Constitution holds some ramifications for unmarried couples in Florida.  The clause seeks to require every state in the nation to give at least some acknowledgment to the laws and institutions of other states.

This becomes important when considering that at least seven other states do recognize the legality of common law marriages. Most states define a common law marriage as one where a couple remains together for a stated period of time and thus gains the rights of legally married partners.

Couples who meet the common law marriage requirements in one state and then move to Florida should expect to receive some acceptance in the state from the courts. This acknowledgment could have implications for matters such as child custody and property division.

Some pertinent court rulings

The Full Faith and Credit Clause proved influential in Supreme Court rulings that upheld provisions in the Defense of Mariage Act. Specifically, this allowed same-sex couples married in a state that allowed this practice to retain certain rights when moving to a state that did not allow same-sex marriages.

Common law marriage in Florida comes with few legal protections. Couples who wish to remain unmarried in the state should understand their legal rights.

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