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What Is Common Law Marriage and Does Arizona Recognize Them?

Can a man and a woman become legally married by living together as husband and wife — in a “common law marriage” — under Arizona’s laws? No, a common law marriage cannot be created in Arizona.

Some states do recognize common law marriages between a man and a woman. If a couple with a real common law marriage moves to Arizona, then their marriage would be recognized in Arizona as well. In that situation, a divorce of the common law marriage is possible in Arizona.

The District of Columbia and the following 15 states allow couples to create common law marriages:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Georgia — only if created before Jan. 1, 1997
  • Idaho — only if created before Jan. 1, 1996
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire — only for inheritance purposes
  • Ohio — only if created before Oct. 10, 1991
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania — only if created before Jan. 1, 2005
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
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