South Carolina House – Ban Common Law Marriage

South Carolina is one of a shrinking handful of states that still allow common law marriage – the idea that a couple can become married not by saying “I do” but simply by intending to be married and behaving like married people. The South Carolina House has voted to change that. Here’s a story about it from WIS TV in Columbia, SC.

South Carolina is one of nine states – among them Alabama – that recognize common law marriage. If the Senate approves it and the Governor signs it, all unions that start after December 31 of this year would no longer be recognized without a marriage license.

Common law marriages are a constant source of uncertainty in domestic relations court, where one spouse tries to prove that the couple behaved like husband and wife and that he or she should therefore be entitled to property division or spousal support when they split.