Despite what many people believe, Utah is not a true common law marriage state. Instead, Utah has a petition process by which a couple can become legally recognized as married. In order to qualify for this process, you must submit certain evidence to the family law court. If the following conditions are met, the court can backdate the marriage to an earlier time.
To have an informal marriage recognized by the court, you'll have to present evidence to satisfy numerous requirements. First, it must be shown that the couple is of legal age. Each party must also be able to give legal consent to the marriage. Next, the parties must have the capacity to marry. This means both parties must be single, of sound mind and cannot be closely related.
Aside from the basic requirements, the couple needs to submit proof of their relationship. They will have to show that they have resided together, acted as if married and held themselves out to the public as a married couple. A family law lawyer in Utah can help you determine what evidence will be sufficient to satisfy the court's requirements.
The court must also be satisfied that there is mutual consent to marry. This can be proven through a signed document, witness testimony or registering as a married couple on official documents. Additional proof can come in the form of tax filings, joint property ownership, and the use of a common surname.
This type of petition has to be filed while the relationship exists. In some cases, it can even be filed within a year after the end of a relationship. When it comes to who can file, either party or both may do so. The filing authority also extends to a third party.
The last step in this process is to have the court enter a decree declaring that the marriage is valid. This will make the couple legally married. The date of the marriage will be determined by the court based on the evidence.
Petitioning for marriage is a good idea for those that need to backdate the marriage. This may be necessary for insurance purposes, inheritance or to claim other benefits. If there is no real need to backdate a marriage, it is usually recommended that the couple just undergo a standard wedding process. Relying on the petition process can be time consuming and expensive.
If you have questions about whether you qualify for this type of marriage, contact the family law lawyers T.R. Spencer Law Office for a consultation to help you plan your marriage.