Looking to tie the knot without the traditional ceremony? Maybe you’re considering a common law marriage. If you live in Utah, you’re in luck! This state recognizes such unions, but there are specific legal steps you need to follow. This guide will take you through the journey of understanding how to get a common law marriage in Utah.
Identify the Legal Requirements for a Common Law Marriage in Utah
First things first, let’s clarify what a common law marriage is. Essentially, it’s a non-ceremonial union that gains legal recognition after meeting certain criteria. But how exactly do you get a common law marriage in Utah? Here are the key requirements:
- Age: You and your partner must both be of legal age (18) or have parental consent if you’re 16 or 17.
- Capacity: Both parties should be capable of giving consent and entering into a marriage contract. That means you’re not closely related, you’re not currently married to someone else, and you’re of sound mind.
- Cohabitation: You and your partner need to live together. There’s no specific duration set by the law, but it should be long enough to establish a marriage-like relationship.
- Reputation: You must present yourself as a married couple to family, friends, and the community. That can include sharing a last name, referring to each other as ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, or filing joint tax returns.
So, you’ve checked all the boxes? Great! But remember, meeting these requirements doesn’t automatically make you legally married. To secure judicial recognition, you need to take a few more steps. And that’s exactly what we’re going to explore next.
Gather Evidence to Prove Cohabitation and Reputation as a Married Couple
Now that we’ve got the criteria down, it’s time to start collecting evidence. This is an important part of demonstrating how to get a common law marriage in Utah. You’ll need solid proof of your cohabitation and reputation as a married couple. But what does this evidence look like? Here’s what you can gather:
- Shared bills or leases: Utility bills or rent agreements in both names can prove that you live together.
- Joint financial accounts: Bank or credit card statements can show shared financial responsibility.
- Testimonies: Statements from friends, family, or neighbors can affirm your public reputation as a married couple.
- Joint tax returns: If you’ve filed taxes jointly, this is strong evidence of your intention to be considered married.
Remember, the more convincing your evidence, the higher your chances of getting your common law marriage recognized. So, gather as much supporting documentation as you can. It’s all about building a strong case.
Prepare a Detailed Affidavit of Common Law Marriage
Having collected your evidence, the next step on your journey of how to get a common law marriage in Utah is preparing a detailed affidavit. What’s that, you ask? Think of it as the written testimony of your marital relationship. Here’s how you can draft it:
- Include personal information: Start with the basics. This includes your full names, addresses, and dates of birth.
- Describe your relationship: Write a thorough account of your relationship. Highlight the start date and the nature of your relationship. Make sure to stress that you’ve presented yourselves as a married couple in public.
- Detail your shared responsibilities: Mention shared financial responsibilities, property, or children. These can add weight to your claim.
- List your evidence: Make reference to the evidence you’ve gathered. This could be anything from shared bills to joint tax returns.
Once you’ve prepared your affidavit, make sure to have it notarized. This step verifies that the information you’ve provided is truthful and accurate. It’s essential in the process of securing a common law marriage in Utah.
File a Petition for Judicial Recognition of Common Law Marriage
The next step on the path of how to get a common law marriage in Utah is to file a petition for judicial recognition. This might sound a bit intimidating, but don’t worry, you’ve got this! Here’s the lowdown:
- Obtain the right form: You’ll need to fill out a legal form known as a “Petition for Recognition of a Relationship as a Marriage”. You can get this from your local county court.
- Complete the form: Make sure to fill out the form accurately. Include all relevant details of your relationship and attach your notarized affidavit and other evidence.
- Submit the form: Once you’ve filled out the form and attached all necessary documents, it’s time to submit it to the court. There will be a filing fee, the amount of which varies by county. If you’re unable to afford the fee, you can submit a request for fee waiver.
Once you’ve submitted your petition, the court will review your case. If everything is in order, they will schedule a hearing date. And remember, patience is a virtue. The process may take some time, so hang in there!
Attend the Court Hearing and Present Your Case
Now that you’ve successfully filed your petition, it’s time to tackle the next step on your journey of how to get a common law marriage in Utah. It’s time to face the music and present your case in court. Here’s what you need to do:
- Show up on time: When it comes to your court date, punctuality is the name of the game. The last thing you want is to be late and risk the Judge dismissing your case.
- Present your evidence: This is when your carefully gathered evidence and detailed affidavit come into play. Present your case clearly and confidently. Remember, you’re not just telling a story, you’re proving a longstanding and committed partnership.
- Answer any questions: Be prepared to answer any questions the Judge might have. Honesty is key here. Your credibility plays a significant role in the Judge’s decision.
It’s natural to feel a little nervous, but keep in mind that the court is there to uphold justice. Stay focused, stick to the facts, and you’ll do just fine.
Obtain a Court Order Recognizing Your Common Law Marriage
So you’ve presented your case and now you’re waiting for the decision. What next in your journey of how to get a common law marriage in Utah? The final step is to obtain a court order recognizing your common law marriage. Here’s what you need to know:
- Wait for the Judge’s decision: This might take a while, depending on the court’s schedule. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.
- Receive the court order: If the Judge is satisfied with your evidence and testimony, they will issue a court order recognizing your common law marriage. This is the golden ticket you’ve been waiting for!
- Record the court order: Don’t forget to record the court order with the county clerk’s office. This ensures that your marriage is legally recognized and provides you with a paper trail should you need it in the future.
Congratulations! You’ve navigated the legal maze and are now part of a recognized common law marriage in Utah. It’s time to celebrate your union and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Well done, you!