Common Law Marriage New York 2024 – All You Need to Know

There are many different ways to build a family. Some people get married and have children, while others remain partners without marrying and never have children. Because there are so many ways to orient a family structure, it is important to know your options before diving into any conventions or agreements. Understanding the benefits of different types of relationships can help you make an empowered decision about your future.

Common law marriages are widely misunderstood. Many people believe that they understand them or even believe themselves to be in one, but do not know the real facts about the laws and requirements. If you have considered common law marriage, it is essential to understand the conversation surrounding these relationships.

Common Law Marriage: The Basics

Common law marriage is a relationship organization in which two people live together as spouses but who have not gone through any ceremonies or legal agreements. Many states offer common law marriages as an official option, and couples may even get certain benefits of marriage without being legally married. However, New York is not one of those states.

New York State cannot and will not grant a common law marriage as an official relationship status. Though you are free to live with a long-term partner and refer to them as your spouse if you wish, you will not get any of the legal benefits of marriage unless you are actually married by law.

New York state will recognize common law marriages from other states if the couple has met all that state’s requirements and gone through the process there. However, no new common law marriages will be granted in New York.

Though this may seem discouraging for those who do not want to get married in the traditional sense, it is important to know that there are other options available to you.

Domestic Partnership

Though common law marriages are not an option, domestic partnerships are a wonderful choice for those looking for an official, state-recognized relationship status. Though you do not get all of the benefits of marriage with a domestic partnership, you do get some.

The requirements for a domestic partnership in New York City are as follows:

  • You and your partner live together and can both show proof of the same address
  • You are both New York City residents (or residents of the county you are applying in, outside of the city)
  • You and your partner are both 18 years old or older
  • You and your partner have a close personal relationship and have been residing together for some time
  • You and your partner are not related in a manner that violates New York incest laws
  • You and your partner have not been part of another domestic partnership for the past six months

Notice that, technically, you do not need to be in a romantic relationship to get a domestic partnership. You can enter into a domestic partnership with a close platonic partner or friend if it is appropriate and necessary in your situation.

Benefits of Domestic Partnership

There are some key benefits that domestic partners have that are not granted to common law marriages. These benefits include:

  • Hospital and prison visitation
  • Family leave for medical or bereavement reasons
  • Health benefits
  • Occupancy or tenancy rights
  • New York City housing privileges

Though these are not all of the benefits of a married couple, they offer significant advantages for those who want options other than marriage. Though domestic partnership was initially the choice of many LGBTQ+ couples who were not permitted to marry, the option is available to couples of any gender or orientation. Marriage is also legal for couples of any gender in the United States as of 2015.

FAQs About Common Law Marriage New York

What Do You Need to Prove Common-Law Marriage in New York State?

New York state does not grant common law marriages, though they will recognize them from other states if you have met the requirements. However, there are no benefits for common law marriages in New York state, so there is no proof required in any situation. If you wish to reap benefits, you must be legally married or in a legal domestic partnership.

How Long Do You Have to Live Together to Be Common-Law Married in NY?

Common law marriages are not granted in New York, so you can live with a partner for your entire life, but you will not be considered married unless you get legally married. If you do not wish to be married, you can enter into a domestic partnership and get some of the benefits that married couples get. However, there is no amount of time of cohabitation that results in a common law marriage in New York.

Do Unmarried Couples Have Rights in New York?

No. Unless you are married or in a domestic partnership, you do not get any special relationship rights or privileges in the state of New York. Common law marriages are not recognized in New York state, and therefore, unmarried couples do not automatically get rights after cohabiting for a certain amount of time. If you wish to have rights as a couple, you must enter into a legal marriage or legal domestic partnership.

Can I See My Partner in the Hospital If We Aren’t Married?

If your partner is in the hospital and you are unmarried, you do not have any rights beyond a visitor or friend. Medical professionals cannot release information to you or allow you additional access to your loved one. However, if you are in a domestic partnership, you should get visitation rights in a hospital setting. To have full medical access to your partner, you will need to be married.

Contact Trotto Law Firm PC.

Our team is here to help you with any family law issues that may arise, including marriage, divorce, prenuptial agreements, domestic partnership paperwork, and more. We have over a decade of experience in family law and can provide you with high-quality legal counsel.

For more information about our services, contact Trotto Law Firm PC online today.

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