Recognizing a common law marriage after the relationship ends

Recognizing a common law marriage after the relationship ends

A “common law” marriage is a relationship recognized as a marriage by law, between two people who never actually got married. Utah is one of eight states that recognize common law marriage and only has recently. Utah had recognized common law marriages between heterosexual couples, but a December 2015 ruling out of Utah’s Second District, In the Matter of the Estate of Sarah Clow, (2015 UT) came down as a huge step for same-sex couples. Judge Ernest Jones ruled that the eight-year relationship between Nicki Bidlack and Sarah Clow, who passed away in 2014, constituted a common law marriage, enabling Bidlack to access retirement benefits and life insurance, just as any other surviving spouse would be able to.
One partner does not have to die in order to ask the court to recognize a relationship as a common law marriage. You may petition the court for a Judicial Recognition of a Relationship as Marriage for any past relationship. Some reasons to do this include access to retirement and benefits, as was the case in the Sarah Clow case above, to inherit property, and most commonly to get divorced and divide property or receive alimony.
There is no set duration that a relationship has to last in order to ask the Court to declare a common law marriage, just as there is no set duration that traditional marriage has to have lasted in order to get divorced or access retirement or other benefits. There is, however, a time limit of one year after the relationship ends to ask the Court to recognize the relationship as a common law marriage. Courts consider several different factors in determining whether or not to recognize a relationship as a marriage, which includes the duration of the relationship, whether the parties lived together, held themselves out to the community as married, owned property together, filed taxes together, and had children together. This is not an exhaustive list of conditions, and even meeting all of these does not guarantee that the Court will recognize the relationship as a marriage.
The recent ruling out of the Second District of Utah will surely open the door for many other same-sex couples to ask the Court to recognize past relationships as marriages. Especially in the situations where the couples would have married, but for laws banning same-sex marriages, Court’s are likely to find that very persuasive in later recognizing those relationships as marriages by law. This is a new and ever-developing area of law, that will undoubtedly keep changing and growing as Court’s continue to follow and interpret changing State and Federal laws regarding marriage.


Sovereign Citizen

3 years ago

Common law is simply the law of the land. In America its Constitutional Law. What people dont realize is that anyone a part of the BAR association is actually practicing British Maritime Law and not Constitutional American Law. This occurs mostly because Americans do not know the law themselves, nor do officers. They are actually breaking the law to enforce policy (police). We have always had inalienable Rights like the Right to Travel, or the Right to Bear Arms; but we consent away those rights under contracts like the drivers license.

  • Call Now (801) 872-2222
    Case Review
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Test Ring Me

Client Reviews

Hepworth was a lighthouse in the middle of the storm. They provided outstanding professional legal counsel in a comprehensive, thorough manner with exceptional expertise, communication, and service. It was quite daunting to be in unfamiliar territory. They guided me in a calm but direct manner that kept me focused & able to handle all that was happening around me. I felt that my best interest was put first. I was not just another client. I HIGHLY recommend.read more
I called many Law Firms, and with most of them felt like I was just a number, or ordering through a drive-thru. My experience with Brian Hart at this law firm as well as his paralegal Kelsie, have been great! Brian completely lives up to his last name, Hart. I would recommend anyone in need of a Family Law Attorney here.read more
Excellent realtors. I highly recommend David Haws.
Our family hired Hepworth & Associates and was assigned Ben Lawrence as our attorney. Ben was very professional in representing our case. He provided support by answering questions, researching appeal court decisions, and demonstrating a good understanding of best practices in family law. During the trial, Ben was able to maintain a calm and collected demeanor. His skills as an attorney helped our family through a challenging time as he guided us through the complicated legal system. After the trial he continued to reach out to our family to check in and to provide updates.read more
Put our family on a good path with thoughts on estate planning. Practical and put information in perspective for our situation personally. We could not have arrived at a course of action without their help. Thank you so much!read more
My experience was exceptional with Benjamin Hepworth, as Ben is very patient and has extreme legal knowledge. Our case was very trying and the other lawyer was not professional and enjoyed throwing obstacles continually in our path. Thankfully Ben is very tactful and I really enjoyed his personal commitment to our case, yes I will use Ben again in any legal matters and look forward to working with him . Once again thank you.read more
Ben, Sonja and their associates dealt with me in a very professional manner. I was pleased to hear they offered a free consultation to advise which attorney I’d be interested in hiring. Ben and Sonja spent over an hour listening to me discuss details on my case and were very accomadating and helpful in their conversation and feedback. I felt that I was cared for there at their law firm, that I wasn’t just a number, and I developed a relationship of trust. When I wasn’t able to hire either attorney (long story) they without hesitation sent me my retainer back in full. No questions asked. If I had the opportunity again, I would totally hire Ben or Sonja!! They were wonderful. And when I had sent a text to the front desk , they always responded quickly. So impressed!! Thanks again!!read more
Michael seemed very passionate about helping me with my case (traffic citation issue) and was more interested in correcting a wrong than simply collecting a fee for a service. Interactions with him and his staff have been professsional. I would definitely recommend.read more
Our family hired Hepworth & Associates and was assigned Ben Lawrence as our attorney. Ben was very professional in representing our case. He provided support by answering questions, researching appeal court decisions, and demonstrating a good understanding of best practices in family law. During the trial, Ben was able to maintain a calm and collected demeanor. His skills as an attorney helped our family through a challenging time as he guided us through the complicated legal system. After the trial he continued to reach out to our family to check in and to provide updates.read more
After being taken advantage of by another law firm, I was extremely happy to find and work with this law firm. I had the pleasure of working with Tyler Call and Chelsea Baker at Hepworth and Associates. They were always available and willing to answer any and all of my questions. They provided me with the information I needed to know and made me feel very comfortable with the case I was dealing with. Most importantly, the took the necessary steps to have a positive result with my hearing. I will forever be grateful for their work and highly recommend them for anyone needing legal assistance.read more
I just wanna say a HUGGEEE thank you to Chelsea and Michael Hepworth in helping me getting my case dismissed!!!!! not only was Michael patient and understood my situation but he also made sure i wasn’t railroaded at the end of the day!! Chelsea did such a great job in gathering my information together and help me with my pay plan! I had to pay excessive fees for my impound fees and was short on funds and she completely understand where i was coming from! i recommend these guys to you not only are they SHARP but they get it down, my case is now dismissed COMPLETELY!! thank you Hepworth & Associates!!!read more
Hepworth & Associates is amazing!!!! I would recommend them to all of my family and friends. They did a great job at communicating with me through the whole process and made sure my case was handled quickly and professionally. Sonja was very knowledgeable and made me feel at ease through the whole process. She answered all of my questions very quickly and made sure I knew what to expect through the process. I am so grateful I went with Hepworth!read more
yes!! they saved me. I was being sued.they were wonderful and quickly got the other party to drop the case that should never have been started. they let us make payments on the lawyer fees. tyread more
They are the best at what they do, very professional. I haven’t ever felt like just a client, I felt like they actually cared and tried as a great mentor when I was lost, willing to be their and give advice on a friendly level to. And although I wasn’t the easiest to deal with late on payment and keep wanting to hold off, Hepworth was always their on time to deal the best. Give it up for my man Ryan b he’s awsome and very fair. Hepworth is the way to go. Great service is what you can expect.read more
Ryan Blake and Sherri Strong were so great to work with during my divorce. They were very responsive and understanding of my situation. I would highly reccommend using Hepworth and Associates.read more
I was facing a powerful multibiollion dollar corporation in a law suit! Me Hepworth and his associates did an outstanding job in representing me! I am so pleased with my representation! They kept me informed the entire time! They were sensitive to my concerns! They helped me get a very good settlement!If you want a bulldog attorney on your side, I can’t give you a better recommendation than Michael Hepworth and associates!read more
I called just to see if anything could be done for my situation. They had an easy form for me to fill out for the attorney to review before deciding if I should come in for a free consultation. It was so easy and the secretary was very professional and kind. Even if I don't have a case, I will definitely be contacting them in the future if the need arises.read more
My man was Tyler. He did an excellent job for me on all counts, his staff was very prompt to my inquiries. I always felt well taken care. I feel like i gained a friend😎read more
I used Micheal to get out of a commercial lease, he saved me $10,000 a month plus help me get money back from a former business partner that strapped me with an additional $42,000 in debt. Thanks Michael Hepworth really appreciate the help.read more
I love these guys, They do such a good job with all of my legal needs. They handle my business and family law. There strategies are top notch. Well done. And thank you.read more
Fast response. Willing to answer any and all questions and gets back with you quick. I will be adding more to this review as time goes on.read more
They were a godsend for me. I had looked for an attorney to help me for several years and they were the best. I won a difficult case dealing with homeowners association.read more
When I started looking for a divorce lawyer I was nervous because I had been married for 20 years (2nd marriage). So I googled inexpensive divorce lawyers and guess what, your law firm came up first. Coincidence? Maybe because I normally would look further but I had a good feeling about this firm. Turns out I was right. Ben Lawrence got in touch with me he listened to my story gave me his advice went over costs and how it worked and I was hooked. He was very intelligent, knowledgeable, and willing to help me the whole way through the process. He was the best person/lawyer I could have ever found. And I went with my gut!! He is the best!!!read more
These guys are excellent attorneys and have a great staff! I highly recommend them!
Exceptional staff. Do everything to help you with your case. Would definitely recommend going here for your legal needsread more
This was the first time I have ever experienced any situation were I needed legal help! Mike and John were more help then I ever expected. They answered any and every question the first time even if it was the same question over and over again. I never felt like I was bothering any of them! I would use them in the future and highly recommend this office!!!read more
my fiancée had to call there office repeatedly to get the status of my case. My fiancée singlehandedly kept the case from getting dismissed because it had sat carelessly dormant for so long and it was her that had to bring it to there attention. And then, when we suggested a way for them to address the obstacles created by my ex-wife and the careless mishandling of my matter (I suggested filing a Motion to Waive the Requirement for Respondent to Take the Parenting Class), your office responded that it couldn’t be done, when in fact, I knew it could be. I paid a paralegal to draft a motion, forwarded it to you and then your office copied it in and submitted it to the court…then the magic happened. The case was resolved and the divorce was granted. I provided you with the legal fodder to complete the job. I was told my case flat-fee agreement (in flat fee cases , I understand that I will not be billed for phone calls, faxes, court appearances, attorney preparation time, paralegal time, or any other hourly fees for work done by the Firm.) than I got a bill 2 years later for 540.98 said they could not reach me... also never got any final paperwork from them... I also did upfront fee $1,300.00 and now its at collections ... I did turn them in to the Utah State Bar...read more
I have full confidence in their abilities and expertise.
More than 100% confident in Michael and John. Both have represented me in business law. Never seen anything they can't handle.read more

Search Site

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Accident and Injury
Adoption
Alimony
Business Law
Car Accidents
Child Custody
Child Support
Civil Law
Constitutional Law
Contract Law
Corporate Law
Criminal Defense
Criminal Law
Divorce
DUI Defense
Employment Law
Eviction Law
Family Law
Father's Rights
Insurance
Landlord Tenant Law
Litigation
Mother's Rights
News
Personal Injury
Protective Orders
Real Estate Law
Trials & Litigation
Trusts
Trusts, Wills & Estate Planning
Wills & Estate Planning
Wills & Trusts

Hepworth & Associates, LLC
320 W 500 S Ste. 200
Bountiful, UT 84010
801-872-2222

299 S Main St, St 1300,
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
801-872-2222

4001 S 700 E #5,
Murray, UT 84107
801-872-2222

10808 S River Front Pkwy Ste 300,
South Jordan, UT 84095
801-872-2222

St. George, Utah
435-261-4114

Test Ring Me

Copyright 2019 © Hepworth & Associates, LLC | All Rights Reserved