Does Maryland recognize common law marriages?

Common-law Marriage in General

Common-law marriages may occur in some states when individuals agree to reside together as husband and wife and publicly hold themselves out as husband and wife without a marriage ceremony and certificate.

Couples in a common-law marriage have the same rights as other married couples, including the right to divorce.

If you have questions about this, you may want to consult with a family law attorney before making any judgments.

Common-law Marriage in Maryland

Maryland law requires a religious or civil ceremony to create a valid marriage. Couples cannot live together in Maryland to create a valid marriage.

However, if a common-law marriage is established in a foreign jurisdiction which accepts such marriages as valid, such as the District of Columbia, Maryland will recognize that marriage as a valid marriage.

For example, if a valid common-law marriage exists in the District of Columbia and the couple later resides in Maryland, the foreign common-law marriage will be recognized as a valid marriage under the laws of Maryland.

Visit our common law marriage page to learn more.