In-State Common Law Marriages: Arizona is not a common-law state.
There is no such thing as a common-law marriage in Arizona. You can live together with your significant other for decades and not create a common-law marriage in the state of Arizona.
Similarly, if you are not married, there is no community property to be divided if your relationship ends. For example, if the house is in your partner’s name, the house belongs 100% to your partner, even if you have been paying on the mortgage.
Additionally, you should be aware that Arizona does not recognize palimony. Palimony is a California law that allows for spousal maintenance payments to be made from one long-time live-in partner to another when they breakup. Arizona has no such law.
Out-of-State Common Law Marriages: Arizona will recognize common-law marriages validly entered into in another state.
Despite Arizona’s law that you can’t form a common-law marriage here, Arizona will recognize common-law marriages from other jurisdictions. The recognition of a common-law marriage can protect a partner’s ability to receive property the couple acquired in a divorce or in the event their partner dies.
The number of common-law marriage states is dwindling, and contrary to popular belief, even in states that recognize common-law marriage (or something similar), the standards are higher.
In Colorado, for example, a judge will determine as part of a divorce or probate proceeding whether a couple had a common-law marriage by looking at things such as whether they presented themselves as husband and wife, bought property together, shared a home or joint bank account, etc.
Utah has another approach. It doesn’t recognize common-law marriages, but instead allows for judicial recognition of a relationship as a marriage. Utah requires proof that the parties of legal age, sound mind, the marriage would otherwise be legal, lived together, treated each other as though they were married, and presented themselves to the public as married. Utah also requires the request for recognition come either during the relationship or within one year of it ending.
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