First, What Exactly is Common Law Marriage?

Common Law Marriage is defined as:  "a legally recognized marriage between two people who have not purchased a marriage license or had their marriage solemnized by a ceremony."

In states that have not abolished common-law marriage, certain criteria must typically be met to be considered legally married under common law.

First, both parties must have the legal capacity to marry, meaning they are of sound mind, legal age (18 years old or older), and not already married to someone else.

Second, the couple must live together and present themselves to others as married, such as using the same last name, referring to each other as husband and wife, and filing joint tax returns.

Couples who are common-law married have the same rights as those who have a marriage license, this includes sharing assets if they divorce.

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Does Minnesota Recognize Common Law Marriage?

Short answer: No, common-law marriage does not exist in Minnesota. After it was abolished in 1941, couples cannot be considered legally married in Minnesota under common-law marriage criteria.

However, Minnesota does recognize common-law marriages considered legally binding in other states. So if a couple were to meet the criteria and marry under common law in Colorado, and then move to Minnesota, their common-law marriage would also be recognized by the Minnesota courts.

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How Many States Recognize Common Law Marriage?

There are eight U.S. states that have not abolished common-law marriage:

  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah.

How Long Do You Have to Be Together To Be Common Law Married?

The most common number thrown around is 7 years of living together to be considered a common-law marriage, but that is a myth, according to this article from NPR.

Common-law marriage states don't have a time requirement. Couples must simply meet the previously mentioned criteria -- agree to be married and present themselves as such -- and it doesn't matter how long they have lived together, a couple who lives together for a day, a week, or a year can be considered common-law married in one of the eight states listed above.

While common law marriage has not been recognized in Minnesota for more than 80 years, there are a handful of new laws taking effect in 2024 that you should be aware of. Scroll through the list below.

New 2024 Laws In Minnesota

Gallery Credit: Lauren Wells

The 25 Best Places to Live in Minnesota

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Minnesota using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from realtor.com.

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.