July 22, 2024
2022 Affidavit of Marriage Fillable, Printable PDF & Forms Handypdf

Understanding Common Law Marriage

When it comes to marriage, most people think of a traditional ceremony, exchanging vows, and signing a marriage license. However, in Ohio, there is another type of marriage recognized by the courts, known as common law marriage.

A common law marriage is an informal marriage that does not require a marriage license or a formal ceremony. Instead, it is based on the couple’s intent to be married and their actions as a married couple. This means that even without a marriage license, a couple can still be considered legally married in the eyes of the law.

Requirements for Common Law Marriage in Ohio

While common law marriage is recognized in Ohio, it is important to note that not all states recognize this type of marriage. In Ohio, there are several requirements that must be met for a common law marriage to be valid:

1. Both parties must be at least 18 years old.

2. The couple must have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage.

3. The couple must live together and present themselves as a married couple.

4. The couple must have the intent to be married.

Proving a Common Law Marriage in Ohio

If a couple meets the requirements for a common law marriage in Ohio, they may need to prove their marriage in certain situations, such as applying for benefits or in a legal dispute. While there is no specific documentation required, there are several factors that can be used as evidence of a common law marriage:

1. Joint bank accounts or credit cards.

2. Joint ownership of property.

3. Joint tax returns.

4. Testimony from friends, family, or other witnesses.

Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Common Law Marriage in Ohio

Once a couple is considered legally married under common law in Ohio, they have the same legal rights and responsibilities as couples who have gone through a formal marriage ceremony and obtained a marriage license. These rights and responsibilities include:

1. The ability to file joint tax returns.

2. The right to inherit property from each other.

3. The right to make medical decisions for each other.

4. The responsibility to support each other financially.

Dissolving a Common Law Marriage in Ohio

If a couple in a common law marriage in Ohio decides to end their relationship, they must go through a legal process to dissolve their marriage, just like couples who have obtained a marriage license. This includes filing for divorce, dividing assets and debts, and determining child custody and support if applicable.


While common law marriage is recognized in Ohio, it is important to understand the requirements and implications of this type of marriage. If you are unsure about your marital status or need legal advice regarding a common law marriage, it is recommended to consult with an experienced family law attorney in Ohio.