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Can I get a common-law divorce?

If you are considering ending a long-term committed relationship, you may have questions or concerns about your rights under the law. Despite the fact that common-law marriage is not recognized in the state of Utah, you may still be able to legally account for property division and other legal arrangements with your ex partner.

The Utah Courts explains that having your relationship recognized as a marriage under state law can give you the opportunity to engage in a number of processes like property division, and can make you eligible to receive marriage benefits in many cases. A marriage agreement between you and your partner can only be established if you meet a number of qualifications and apply for legal recognition within an allotted amount of time, however.

In order to qualify for a marriage agreement in the state of Utah, you and your partner must be able to show evidence that your relationship was valid. Among other things, you may be required to illustrate that you are both legally eligible to marry and that you treated your relationship as a marriage. Beyond that, you may be asked to prove that you and your partner maintain joint ownership of property and/or joint bank accounts. Other forms of evidence can include everything from your joint tax returns to your changed surname.

While establishing your relationship as a marriage is not necessary to address issues relating to child custody or child support, it can assist greatly in property division proceedings. Being recognized as a spouse under the law has the potential to give you access to your ex-partner’s retirement benefits, medical insurance and other assets identified as marital property.

Keep in mind, however, that not every relationship can qualify as a marriage in Utah. Therefore, the information provided here is only intended to be educational in nature.


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