Posts Tagged ‘Common-Law Marriage’

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

The April 3, 2019 Supreme Court opinion in Stone v. Thompson 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 property. The family court bifurcated the proceedings […]

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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