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Is There Common Law Marriage in New York?

Only 11 states plus the District of Columbia recognize common law marriages. New York is not one of these states. While this type of legal relationships cannot form in this state, New York can recognize common law marriages that come from states where this relationship is formally recognized.

Does this mean anything for cohabitating couples in New York? Yes. In states where there is no common law marriage, you would not have the same legal entitlements that a married couple does if they terminate the relationship. Cohabitating couples should seriously consider writing up a living together contract.

What can this contract cover? Some issues could include:

  • How costs will be shared (utilities, rent / mortgage, etc.)
  • Choosing mediation as the forum through which you would handle disputes
  • How inheritances or gifts would be shared or remain separate property
  • How you would handle property division if you separated

Essentially, a cohabitation contract can cover any financial matter that you need it to, outlining a financial plan for the relationship and/or offering financial protections in case of death or the relationship ever ending.

Not only could such a contract offer legal guidelines and protections, but it could start a vital conversation for couples on how to handle their finances and property. This can help you sort out what your goals are, and you and your partner can create a game plan to reach both your aims.

Of course, this document can only help you if it is legally enforceable. If this contract should ever have to hold up in court, you would need to know that you could rely on its being accepted by a judge. Here is where a legal professional help you. At Meyers Law Group, P.C., our Long Island family attorney is proficient in protecting rights through such legal agreements. Learn more when you contact our office today!