Common Law Marriage in Utah
When Utah couples live together but were never officially married, many questions and misunderstandings can arise regarding each person’s legal rights with regard to property, child custody, parenting time and child support. For many people, the end of a long-term relationship can be remarkably similar to the end of a traditional marriage. Victoria Cramer has experience helping clients in all types of family law matters, including establishing a relationship as a marriage to protect one’s interests.
Recognizing a relationship as a marriage in Utah
While Utah does not have common law marriage per se, you may petition the court to recognize your relationship as a marriage even though you never had a marriage ceremony. Reasons to have your current or past relationship recognized as a marriage include getting a divorce and dividing property, claiming damages in a wrongful death action, claiming insurance or retirement benefits, and inheriting property. If the court approves, the man and woman are considered to have been married ever since the following conditions have been met:
- The parties are of legal age and capable of giving consent.
- The parties are legally capable of entering a solemnized marriage. For example, there are no reasons, such as a close family relationship, preventing them from legally marrying.
- The parties have lived together.
- The parties treat each other as though they were married.
- The parties present themselves to the public so that other people believe they are married.
A petition to have a relationship recognized as a marriage must be filed during the relationship or within one year after the relationship ends, either because one or both partners have died or they have separated. Either partner may file the petition or both partners may file the petition together. A third party, such as next of kin, may also file the petition.
Common law marriages and property division
A petition to recognize a relationship as a marriage may be filed together with a divorce petition when a couple separates and needs to divide property. If the court does not combine the two cases, a party may file a motion to consolidate. A divorce can also be used to establish child custody, parenting time, child support and other family law issues; however, these orders can also be made with a petition to establish parentage if a child’s parents were never married.
Victoria Cramer can help you decide if establishing your relationship as a marriage can preserve your rights to any property, or benefit you in any other way, upon separation from your partner. Simply because your situation is unique, you should never sacrifice your legal rights or interests, especially when it can improve your situation as you begin a new chapter in your life.
Contact an experienced lawyer about your common law marriage questions
If you are interested in establishing your relationship as a marriage please contact Victoria Cramer to schedule a consultation. Do not sacrifice your legal rights and interests based on the numerous misconceptions surrounding common law marriage.