There are many couples in Ohio who have lived together for years without officially getting married. It is important to understand that unless you have been in a relationship like this for well over 20 years, the state of Ohio will not recognize your relationship as a common law marriage.
In October 1991, Oho stopped recognizing common law marriages and started requiring couples to obtain a marriage certificate in order to receive the many benefits bestowed upon legally married couples. As a result, Ohio only recognizes common law marriages under the following circumstances:
- You entered into a common law marriage in Ohio prior to October,1991; or
- You entered into a common law marriage in another state in accordance with that state’s marriage laws
This change in the law has important ramifications for common law couples who would like to end their relationship. If you met Ohio’s criteria for common law marriage prior to October 1991, you will be considered legally married. As a result, you will need to get a legal divorce in the event of a breakup.
However, if your relationship began after 1991, you will not be considered legally married according to the State. Since filing for divorce is not an option, you will need to file a civil action in an Ohio Civil Court in order to resolve any property division issues associated with assets and property acquired during the course of your relationship.
These matters can get very complicated, and you will need the help of an experienced family lawyer who can guide you through this process. John Heilbrun has experience helping couples in the Cincinnati area resolve property division issues. He knows how Ohio common law marriage laws will impact your case, and he can make sure your rights are protected every step of the way.