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Does Missouri recognize common law marriage or domestic partnerships?
The State of Missouri does not recognize common law marriage. All common-law marriages in Missouri are declared “null and void” by state law.
The term “cohabitation” is used to refer to two people who are in a relationship and living together while not married. However, it is not a legal phrase in Missouri. Couples do not have any particular cohabitation legal rights under state law. An experienced family lawyer can help you learn more about cohabiting couples’ legal rights in Missouri.
Anyone planning to marry in Missouri must first obtain a marriage license. They must then have their marriage “solemnized by a person authorized by law to solemnize weddings,” which usually implies a judge or a person authorized to conduct weddings in a religious ceremony.
Moving to Missouri as a Common Law Couple
When a marriage is authorized in a common law marriage state, the couple may be deemed legally married in another state under the U. S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause.
Thus, even if Missouri does not recognize common law marriage, a couple who entered into common law marriage in Kansas and afterward relocated to Missouri could be considered married in Missouri. A marriage recognized in one state is generally deemed valid in another state, according to the Constitution.
Common Law Marriage Divorce or Dissolution
Even in common law marriages, there is no common law divorce. A valid legal separation or divorce would be required if a couple represented themselves as married under common law in a state that accepts common law marriage. Couples who were married by common law could not marry again until they were divorced under the laws of the state where they live.
Is domestic partnership recognized in Missouri?
If you live with your partner and want the same benefits as married couples, Missouri may recognize your relationship as a domestic partnership. Only a few Missouri cities, however, accept domestic partnerships.
A domestic partnership is an intimate relationship between two people who live together and share a normal domestic life but are not legally married in the state where they live. The partnership typically consists of two people of the same or opposite gender.
For a relationship to be classified as a domestic partnership, the two people involved must:
- have reached the age of eighteen,
- have a close relationship,
- live together for the longest period of time, and
- have agreed to share the cost of living during the domestic relationship.
Missouri Domestic Partnership Laws
Domestic partners in St. Louis are required to follow the domestic partnership statutes listed below if an issue develops.
To obtain and be assured of visitation rights, parental leave, adoption and other benefits, the partners must register their union with the government and meet the required standards.
When a long-term relationship comes to an end, it’s usually possible to terminate it. It is possible to arrange a fair property distribution for both partners under Missouri domestic partnership statutes. If there are children involved in a same-sex domestic relationship, family law attorneys can assist in determining custody.
Speak with a knowledgeable Missouri family law attorney
Shea Kohl Law, LC can assist you if you have questions or concerns regarding whether you are deemed married when you move from a common law marriage state or how to terminate a common law marriage in Missouri.
Tell us about your situation, and we’ll help you find the best decisions for your case. Call (636) 946-9999 or use our online contact form to schedule a private consultation.
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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.