Inadvertent Marriage

How in the world can you get married accidentally?

Read this story from the Des Moines Register click here.

” Iowa law recognizes so-called “common-law marriage.” In fact, the law already reads broadly, “A man or woman who was or is held out as the person’s spouse by a person by virtue of a common-law marriage is deemed the legitimate spouse of such person.” A couple deemed married by the common law is legally married for all purposes just as surely as the couple that goes to the courthouse and gets a marriage license. A split-up requires a court-approved dissolution of the marriage before either partner can “re-marry” or un-do those marital ‘defaults.’ “

“Common-law marriage is something unfamiliar to most cohabiting straight couples, let alone gay ones, and certainly the common law didn’t recognize marriage between persons of the same gender. But, with the state of Iowa allowing access to legal marriage by this alternate path for over a century, coupled with the Iowa Supreme Court’s equal-protection ruling, it’s axiomatic that the state must now recognize similarly the “common-law” marriage of same-gender couples.”

Wow. That’s scary. But if you live in PA don’t worry. Pennsylvania no longer recognizes common law marriage.