People get married for a variety of reasons including romance, finances or inheritance rights. Traditionally, this means getting a marriage license and have a ceremony before a judge, justice of the peace or clergyman. In Oklahoma however, it is not necessary for you to go the traditional route in order to enjoy the benefits of a legal marriage. The rest of this article discusses the requirements for a common law marriage in Oklahoma.
Some couples choose to forego tradition and simply begin to live together. For these couples, common law marriage offers a way to be considered legally married without having to obtain a marriage license and have a ceremony. Oklahoma is one of a several states that recognize common law marriages. By simply living together for a specified length of time and under specified conditions you may enjoy the benefits of a legal marriage, for example inheritance right and division of property rights.
The requirements for an common law marriage in Oklahoma are as follows:
- You must present yourselves to the public as a married couple.
- You must be legally eligible for marriage, meaning that you must be old enough to marry legally and not already married
- You must mutually and actually intend to be married
- You must live together as man and wife for a specified length of time, typically long enough to demonstrate that a relationship akin to a marriage exists
The above requirements must be demonstrated in a clear and convincing manner or your relationship will fail to qualify as a common law marriage in the state of Oklahoma. You may demonstrate these requirements, for example, in the following ways:
- Filing joint tax returns
- Using the same last name
- Joint ownership of assets or debt
- The testimony of others
- Listing each other as beneficiaries of life insurance policies
If you have questions regarding the status of your living arrangement and whether or not you meet the qualifications for a common law marriage in the state of Oklahoma, an experienced Tulsa family law attorney can look at the circumstance of your relationship and ascertain if indeed you meet the requirements listed above.
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