The so-called psychological phenomenon the “seven-year itch” suggests happiness fades after seven years of marriage. To be able to suffer from the dreaded “seven-year itch” you need to be married first. Although in other states, seven years is enough for a partnership to be recognized as a common law marriage, in New York, it is not. Only about a dozen states consider common law marriages valid. Couples may avoid formalizing their marriages for many reasons, but common-law marriages are as real and legally binding as taking a walk down the aisle.
Getting the facts straight
A common-law marriage does not automatically kick in after a pair has been together for a certain number of years. In states where these marriages are lawful there are specific requirements that must be met:
- You need to be capable of getting married and cohabitate in a state that recognizes common-law marriage
- You and your partner agree to intend to be married and when out in public act a married couple
Moving from a common-law state
In a state like New York that does not consider common-law marriages legitimate there are ways to work around that issue if you find yourself in a similar situation. A state that views common-law marriages as acceptable will still recognize the partnership if it was correctly established in a state that does support them. If you formed your relationship while living in a common-law marriage state for then relocate to a noncommon-law marriage state, the laws of common law marriage would apply.