Common Law Marriage

Broken Heart and No Money

Does Florida Grant Common Law Marriage?

If you have been living together with a significant other for a period of years, you may wonder if you have a common law marriage in Florida. A "common law marriage" is one in which the parties may hold themselves out as a husband and wife, and under certain circumstances, be deemed married without a marriage license or ceremony.

If you live in Florida and have a significant other, remember that unless you have specific legal documents stating your intentions, your boyfriend or girlfriend will have no legal rights over health or financial issues. You may want to ensure you have proper documents if you wish that person to have a say in your financial or health matters. You can update or completely rewrite the agreement any time you see fit. Both you and your partner should sign and date the agreement. You will need last will and testament if you'd like your property, or assets distributed according to your wishes.

Like marriage, a joint account is still a risk. Each person has the right to spend all the money. Both partners are responsible for all activity involving the account. You’re equally liable for bounced checks, overdrafts, and all the rest. This can cause big problems if one of you is a habitual over spender. Record keeping can pose another problem with joint accounts. It’s often difficult to keep track of how much money is in the account when two people are writing checks and making withdrawals. This may cause you to do more work; however, it will come in handy if one day you both decide to separate.

Common Law Marriage Here’s the big question, "What if I did not write an agreement or have a last will and testament done? What will happen"? This is where the down fall happens. You have joint accounts, credit cards, and debits you’ll have to do a civil suit if you can’t come to an agreement how to separate assets and debts. Things could get complicated in the event that the couple separates and jointly own property unlike a legal marriage, assets and debts need to be divided; and if the couple has children, custody and visitation arrangements will need to be made.  If the union is not considered legal, a couple may be left with a number of questions that cannot be easily answered without the help of a skilled family law attorney, like Attorney Carmelina Marin who has experience representing couples in these types of situations.