Is there common law marriage in Minnesota?

Is there common law marriage in Minnesota? No. Minnesota abolished common law marriage in 1941. Minnesota does, however, recognize common law marriages that were legally created outside of this state.

What is common law marriage? Some states recognize a couple as being married even though they do not have a marriage certificate or solemnization of the marriage in front of witnesses. Couples who have been together for a significant amount of time, have lived together and combined finances, assets and debts and held themselves out as spouses can be given the same rights as a couple who has a marriage license.

Couples living in Minnesota who are not legally married do not have the same rights and privileges as those who are legally married. Why does this matter? Unmarried couples want to keep their financial lives they built together in good shape just like married couples. The bonds of matrimony allow assets to flow to the other spouse. Couples living outside of legal marriage do not have that same benefit.

Unmarried couples should give serious thought to meeting with a family law attorney to create a financial plan to help protect both couples in the future especially if the relationship ends.

Contact Jessica Sterle, family law attorney, serving clients in Duluth, Cloquet, Two Harbors, Hibbing, Grand Rapids & Northern Minnesota to discuss how to protect your financial assets.

Common Law Marriage FAQs

How long do you have to be together for common law marriage in Minnesota?

Minnesota does not recognize common law marriages as a legally binding arrangement and hasn’t for over 80 years. The only exception is a common law marriage established in a state with a common law marriage law prior to moving to Minnesota.

How long do you have to be together to be common law married?

7 years, though in 2021 only a handful of states in the U.S. recognize common law marriages. They include Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

Learn more about marriage in Minnesota in the Minnesota State Law Library. You can read about prenups, same-sex marriage, and cohabitation laws.

Jessica Sterle