New York State does not allow common law marriages, regardless of how long a couple has been living together.

It is important to realize that, if you have only lived in New York, and you have lived with your “significant other”, no matter how long you have lived together, you cannot establish that you have a common law marriage. Common law marriages simply do not exist in New York State.

However, in States that permit common law marriages, if the marriage is recognized as a valid common law marriage in that State, then New York State will then honor that marriage in New York.

Currently, there are ten States that permit common law marriages (they are: Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Utah). In addition, the District of Columbia also permits common law marriages. Until 2005, Pennsylvania also permitted common law marriages, however, as of January 2, 2005, Pennsylvania no longer permits common law marriages. In Pennsylvania, couples who entered into a common law marriage before January 2, 2005 are still considered married.

Therefore, if you lived in one of the ten States that recognize your marriage as a valid common law marriage or if Pennsylvania considers your common law marriage valid, and you then move into New York, New York will also recognize your marriage as valid.

If your marriage is valid, even if it is a common law marriage, then you can also be divorced in New York State.

If you believe that you have a valid common law marriage, according to the laws of your State, and you want to establish that your marriage is valid in New York State, you should consult with an attorney.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office can answer all your questions about common law marriages and divorces.  If you are getting divorced and need more information call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at or visit our web site: The Badanes Law Office has two offices in Long Island: Northport and Garden City.

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