How long is common law marriage in Maryland?

Answered by Michael Wilson

In Maryland, the concept of common law marriage is not recognized. Unlike some other states, Maryland does not have specific laws that establish the criteria for a common law marriage. This means that no matter how long you have lived together, you will not be considered legally married under common law in Maryland.

It is important to note that common law marriage is not determined by a specific length of time, regardless of the state you are in. This is a common misconception that many people have. The idea that living together for seven years automatically creates a common law marriage is simply not true.

In Maryland, the only recognized form of marriage is a formal marriage that is legally solemnized and recognized by the state. This typically involves obtaining a marriage license, having a ceremony performed by an authorized officiant, and registering the marriage with the appropriate government authorities.

While Maryland does not recognize common law marriage, it is worth mentioning that the state does recognize valid common law marriages that were established in other states. So, if you were in a common law marriage in another state and then moved to Maryland, your marriage would still be legally recognized.

It is also important to consider that just because a couple has lived together for a certain period of time, it does not automatically entitle them to the legal rights and protections that come with marriage. Without a formal marriage, couples in Maryland do not have access to the same legal benefits, such as inheritance rights, healthcare decision-making, and spousal support, among others.

In light of this, it is advisable for couples who wish to have legal recognition of their relationship and access to the rights and protections that come with marriage to formally marry under Maryland law. This involves going through the necessary steps to obtain a marriage license, having a ceremony, and registering the marriage with the appropriate authorities.

Common law marriage is not recognized in Maryland, regardless of how long a couple has lived together. It is important to understand that each state has its own laws regarding common law marriage, and it is always best to consult with a legal professional who is knowledgeable about the specific laws in your state.