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How Florida Law Treats Common-Law Marriages

florida law
florida law

In the intricate realm of family law, one topic that generates quite a few queries is that of common-law marriages. People frequently question whether common-law marriages exist in Florida, how they are recognized, and what legal rights they afford. If you’ve found yourself with similar concerns, you’re in the right place.

At our Florida-based law firm, we’re dedicated to guiding you through the complexities of these issues. We’re about to delve into how Florida law treats common-law marriages, equipping you with the insights needed to navigate your unique situation.


What is a Common-Law Marriage?

First things first, let’s define what we mean by ‘common-law marriage.’ Unlike a ceremonial marriage that requires a license and official ceremony, a common-law marriage typically involves a couple living together for a certain period, presenting themselves as a married couple, and having the intent to be married. The key elements of a common-law marriage vary across states.


Common-Law Marriages: The Florida Perspective

As of our knowledge cutoff in 2021, Florida does not recognize common-law marriages that have been established within the state after January 1, 1968. This means that if a couple meets the general conditions for a common-law marriage but has never been ceremonially married, Florida law does not consider them legally married.


Recognizing Out-of-State Common-Law Marriages

There’s a critical exception to the rule mentioned above, often known as the “Full Faith and Credit Clause” of the United States Constitution. Florida must acknowledge the laws and judicial decisions of other states. So, if a couple has a valid common-law marriage from another state that recognizes such unions (like Colorado or Iowa), Florida would recognize that marriage.


Legal Rights and Common-Law Marriage

Without the recognition of a common-law marriage, couples can miss out on certain legal rights and protections. These can include:


  1. Estate and Inheritance Rights: In a recognized marriage, if one spouse dies intestate (without a will), the surviving spouse typically has inheritance rights. This is not the case for unrecognized common-law marriages in Florida.


  1. Spousal Support: Upon separation, one partner may be entitled to spousal support in a recognized marriage, but not in an unrecognized common-law union.


  1. Property Division: In the event of a breakup, property division can be more complicated without the legal structure of a recognized marriage.


This underlines the significance of understanding the legal standing of your relationship and seeking professional legal advice when necessary.



Navigating the intersection of personal relationships and legal rights can be tricky. That’s where we come in. As a premier law firm in Florida, we’re committed to providing clear, comprehensive legal guidance tailored to your unique circumstances. Whether you’re dealing with issues related to common-law marriage or other family law matters, we’re here to assist.

This blog post aims to provide a general understanding of how Florida law treats common-law marriages. However, for specific legal advice relevant to your situation, we highly recommend consulting with a knowledgeable attorney.

If you have more questions about common-law marriage in Florida, reach out to our team today. We’re ready to provide the legal support you need.