Common law marriage is one of the most common cases when it comes to hiring an attorney. One of the reasons that lawyers come into a marriage ceremony is because it involves a division of assets, of property, rights of survivorship, spousal rights and other things that need to be divided when it comes to a marriage.
Features of a Common Law Marriage
The common law marriage is something that comes with three basic characteristics. The first is a present and very real agreement to show that both parties were willing participants in the marriage. There are no specific words that have to be used, but the consent of both bride and groom has to be clearly given. An agreement or proof of the marriage must exist otherwise the claim of being wed will be void. Proof of cohabitation is another form of proof than any legal firm will demand. The concerned couple would actually have to live together for a while to call the marriage proper. Public representations of marriage are also a must. The couple is expected to show that they are married. These things are important in the court of law and the people concerned have a duty to see that these legal requirements are dealt with.
Twentieth Century Developments
In the past fifteen years, many courts and countries have started recognizing unmarried couples to be ‘domestic partners’. In this case, the couple lives together without a marriage and they are recognized and given the rights to receive things Health Insurance, Child Visitation rights and other things that were once exclusive to marriage. In some cases, the domestic partner can only inherit from their deceased partner or their family if specifically mentioned in the will. By comparison, a common law marriage will automatically gave the inheritance to the partner in case of the death of the other.
Marriage has evolved over the years. Some basic features have stayed the same but overall the concept is giving more freedom and rights to both married parties. The right of inheritance, child visitation and many other rights were not there in the early days. Women had little to no rights and now they have so much going in their favor because of the law that they can live happily.
The literal meaning of common law marriage is an agreement between a man and a woman to live together without any legal formalities. Such informal partnerships are recognized by some countries just to give both parties equal rights and protection.
Lawyers and law firms make sure they do everything to protect these rights. They fight for both parties and in case of a divorce, they make sure to give what is due. Clients state what they want from the divorce, what is theirs by right and when they cannot solve it themselves, they seek the help of trained professionals. Often, these problems are solved behind closed doors and away from the court, but in some cases, it can turn into a situation where a judge and jury have to be involved.
Alastair Mcdonald is a law professor, who likes to write law related posts often. In his opinion, a good law firm should have the right qualities, and he quotes this website as the perfect example.