Does New York Acknowledge Common Law Marriage?

Getting married is probably one of the biggest decisions we will ever make in our lives, and understandably, some people may choose to take their time before officially tying the knot. If you have been thinking about marriage, this blog is for you!

We will explain how common law marriage works in New York and what its status is in other states. This will help you understand the concept and its variations across different jurisdictions. 

Then, we will dive into the legal requirements for marriage in New York State, including the role of a marriage license and ceremony. Our goal is to give you a clear understanding of whether New York State recognizes common law marriages and what it means for you and your partner.

Let’s get started!

Understanding Common Law Marriage in NY

Common law marriage is a type of marriage that isn’t created by a formal ceremony or legal document, but rather by the actions and intentions of the couple involved. 

In New York State, however, common law marriage isn’t recognized. This means that even if you and your partner have been living together for a long time and consider yourselves to be married, the state doesn’t legally recognize your relationship as a marriage. 

This can have implications for things like property ownership and inheritance rights. So if you’re in New York and want to ensure that your relationship is legally recognized, it’s important to go through the formal process of getting married.

Legal Requirements for Marriage in New York State

In order to get married in New York State, both you and your partner must be at least 18 years old. You’ll need to apply for a marriage license from a town or city clerk’s office, and both of you must appear in person to apply. 

You’ll also need to provide proof of identity and age, such as a driver’s license or birth certificate. Additionally, you’ll need to pay a fee for the marriage license. Once you’ve obtained the license, you must wait 24 hours before the ceremony can take place. 

Finally, your marriage must be performed by a person authorized to solemnize marriages in the state of New York.

Implications for Couples in New York State

If you’ve been living together in the beautiful state of New York for a long time, it’s important to understand the legal implications that may arise for couples in your situation. While New York does not recognize common law marriage, it does recognize certain legal rights for couples who have lived together for an extended period of time. These rights mainly pertain to property division and financial support. 

If you and your partner decide to separate, you may be entitled to a fair distribution of property acquired during your cohabitation. 

Additionally, you may have the right to seek financial support from your partner, particularly if you have been financially dependent on them. It’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to fully understand your rights and options in these circumstances.


So, there you have it. As you now know, New York State doesn’t recognize common law marriage. This means that in order to be legally married in the eyes of the law, couples must meet the specific legal requirements and go through the formal process of obtaining a marriage license. 

While common law marriage may be recognized in some other states, it’s important for couples in New York State to understand the legal implications and requirements for marriage in their jurisdiction.

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