Order by District court judge regarding common law marriage:
Despite much belief to the contrary, the length of time you live together does not by itself determine whether a common law marriage exists. No state law or court decision says seven years or ten years of cohabitation is all that is needed for a common law marriage. It’s only one factor the court may consider.
Marriage is the legal union of two people. Once they become married to each other, their responsibilities and rights toward one another concerning property and support are defined by the laws of the state in which they live. While a married couple may be able to modify some of the rules set up by their state, they can end their marriage only by a court granting a divorce or an annulment. Many people believe that if you live with a person for a long time you’re automatically married—that you have what is called a common law marriage, with the same rights and responsibilities of a couple who has been legally married. In most states, this is not true. In these states, marriage requires a license and ceremony.