Alabama does recognize common law marriages. A common law marriage is a marriage that was not established by a license from the state. A common law marriage in Alabama must meet these four elements:
1. The man and the woman must hold themselves out as a married couple. This can mean that they tell others that they are married or refer to themselves in public as husband and wife.
2. The couple must have the mental capacity to be married. This means that both people must be able to understand the nature of marriage and the responsibilities a spouse owes to the other.
3. The couple must have agreed to be married. This does not mean that the couple intends to get married someday. If the agreement is to get married someday then there is a question as to the intent of the couple to consider themselves married.
4. The marriage must be consummated. Consummation can be described as the first time that the husband and wife co-habit together, i.e. engage in intercourse, after the ceremony of marriage has been performed, is thus called.
A couple who has a common law marriage who seeks a split from its spouse can ask the court to recognize the common law marriage and seek a divorce under Alabama state law. The elements of a common law marriage as described above must be established before a court will ignore the lack of a marriage license and recognize the common law marriage. Be advised that Alabama does not recognize a common law divorce. If you have questions about this article or any other area of law, please give me a call at 205.327.5551, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by web at www.jordanlawfirmonline.com