In this article, we discuss if you are really married based on Iowa Common Law Marriage. We define what common law marriage is, what to do if you move out of Iowa and into a new state, and what marriage rights you have in Iowa.
Under Iowa law couples are considered legally married two different ways. One way is the traditional form of marriage in front of a clergy, a judge, an ordained minister, etc. The second way is an implied “I Do,” it is a common-law marriage. Very few states recognize Common Law Marriage, Iowa is one of eight states that does recognize this form of marriage. When a couple is married by common law they may enjoy all of the benefits of a marriage including alimony, child support, and property division.
Common law marriage is not governed by statute, so it makes it harder to define. To have a common law marriage you must establish three things:
Very few states recognize common law marriage. If you move to a state that does not recognize common law marriage, then your marriage will not be valid in that state.
Common law marriages have the same rights as traditional marriages in the state of Iowa. You have rights to the decedent’s estate should there be a death. If you get divorced you have the same rights as a traditional marriage.
The biggest key to exercising these rights is to have the court recognize the marriage as valid. Consult with an attorney to help you with the process of determining if Common Law Marriage is applicable to your situation under Iowa law.
O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in: