Common Law Marriage In SC is a legal and binding contract between two individuals, recognized by the state and governed by its laws. In some states, couples can establish a legal marriage without a formal ceremony or a marriage license. This type of marriage is called a common law marriage. South Carolina is one of the states that recognize common law marriages. In this article, we will explore the legal implications of common-law marriage in South Carolina, including the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved.
What is Common Law Marriage In SC?
Common law marriage is a type of informal marriage that arises from the couple’s conduct, rather than from a formal ceremony or a marriage license. In South Carolina, a common law marriage is established when the couple:
- Has the capacity to enter into a marriage;
- Consents to be husband and wife;
- Lives together as husband and wife;
- Presents themselves to the public as husband and wife.
These elements must be present for a common-law marriage to be recognized in South Carolina.
Rights and Responsibilities of Common Law Spouses:
Couples in a common law marriage in South Carolina have the same rights and responsibilities as couples in a formal marriage. These rights and responsibilities include:
Property rights: Common law spouses have the right to inherit property from each other, and are entitled to a share of the marital property in the event of a divorce.
Support: Common law spouses have to support each other financially, just like couples in a formal marriage.
Medical decisions: Common law spouses have the right to make medical decisions for each other in the event of incapacity.
Divorce: Common law spouses can obtain a divorce in South Carolina, and the division of property and spousal support will be determined by the court in the same manner as a formal divorce.
Children: Common law spouses have the same rights and responsibilities as parents in a formal marriage, including child custody and support.
Proving Common Law Marriage in SC:
To prove a common law marriage in South Carolina, the couple must provide evidence of the four elements listed above. This evidence can include:
- Testimony from witnesses who can attest to the couple’s relationship;
- Joint bank accounts, insurance policies, or other documents that demonstrate the couple’s joint financial activity;
- Correspondence addressed to the couple as husband and wife;
- The couple’s tax returns may show that they filed jointly as a married couple.
Common Law Marriage In SC is a legal and binding contract recognized by the state of South Carolina. Couples who choose to establish a common-law marriage have the same rights and responsibilities as couples in a formal marriage. If you believe that you are in a common law marriage or have questions about your legal rights and responsibilities, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney.