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.
Minnesota abolished common law marriage in 1941. In Minnesota a couple is legally married or just living together. Minnesota does, however, recognize common law marriages that were legally created outside of this state.
Couples living in this state 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.