Posts Tagged ‘Common-Law Marriage’

Stone v. Thompson is in the books

Updating some of my blogs this morning to include citations to Southeastern Reporter and South Carolina Reports, I realized that the petition for rehearing in Stone v. Thompson, 833 S.E.2d 266 (S.C. 2019), was denied on October 16, 2019. Until a petition for rehearing is denied or remittitur issues, a published opinion is always subject […]

South Carolina Supreme Court finally (and only prospectively) abolishes common-law marriage–and makes it harder to establish retroactive common-law marriages

A decade ago, in a blog titled, “Why won’t South Carolina end common-law marriage?,” I expressed my strong dislike of the doctrine by noting, “cases resolving the issue of whether a couple was married at common-law do not become a ‘quest for the truth’ but instead devolve into determining who is the less convincing liar,” […]

Supreme Court holds order establishing common-law marriage is immediately appealable

The April 3, 2019 Supreme Court opinion in Stone v. Thompson, 426 S.C. 291, 826 S.E.2d 868 (2019), addresses the appealability of final orders from bifurcated proceedings for marital dissolution when a common-law marriage is alleged. Stone filed an action in the family court to establish a common-law marriage and for equitable distribution of marital […]

How to avoid becoming (unwittingly) common-law married

I get frequent calls or emails inquiring how long one can live with a romantic companion before one is common-law married. Often these folks believe there is a set time period (typically seven or ten years) after which cohabitation is presumed to become a common-law marriage. These folks are mistaken. While cohabitation (living together) is […]

Now there’s a third way to become married in South Carolina

I would like to thank Professor Roy T. Stuckey for making me aware of the February 18, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in Thomas v. 5 Star Transportation, 412 S.C. 1, 770 S.E.2d 183 (Ct. App. 2015). Evidently there is now a third way for folks to become married in South Carolina. Thomas was a […]

Common law marriage is still marriage

I am amazed at the number of folks contacting my office who have inadvertently gotten themselves married via common law marriage. I am also amazed at the folks who ask how they can get common law married because they don’t want to go through the trouble or expense of a ceremonial marriage. Such questions or […]

My first common-law marriage

Yesterday, for the first time in my 17+ years of practicing family law, I  helped validate a common-law marriage.  Unlike the typical common-law marriage litigated in family court, in which one “spouse” claims marriage and the other “spouse” disclaims marriage, this was a common-law marriage by consent. This couple came to me with factual circumstances […]

Why won’t South Carolina end common-law marriage?

Yesterday I litigated the issue of common law marriage–in a municipal court eviction proceeding no less. It’s a task I consider most unpleasant and that hearing did nothing to change my opinion.  My client had tried to evict his ex-girlfriend/baby mama (the baby’s now 20 years old) and–she claimed–common-law wife from a house he owned. […]

 

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