Muskogee Lawyer BlogDo I Need a Divorce to End a Common Law Marriage in Oklahoma?

common law marriage in OklahomaA marriage in Muskogee, Oklahoma needs to be contracted through a formal ceremony. However, a common law marriage in Oklahoma is also legally recognized. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 7a

When two people decide to live together for a long time, share a common last name, and have joint bank accounts, loans, mortgages, and shared property titles, it could be assumed under Oklahoma laws that the couple is in a common law marriage.

If you find yourself in a confusing situation where you are not sure if you’ve been merely cohabiting with a partner or have been in a common law marriage in Oklahoma, talk to a Muskogee attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your position under the law so that you can take the necessary steps to avoid confusion in the future.

If a common-law marriage between a couple ends, it is necessary to get a formal divorce so that each of the partners can be free of responsibilities to the other. A common law marriage may be casually constituted, but this does not mean that it can be nullified the same way.

What Constitutes a Common Law Marriage in Oklahoma?

Typically, it becomes relevant to prove whether a couple is in a common law marriage if the relationship ends. If one of the partners wants to remarry, the question of whether a common law marriage existed arises.

Another scenario that raises the question of if a common law marriage existed is when one of the partners dies. The children of the deceased partner may claim the surviving spouse has no right to the estate of the decedent since the marriage was not formally constituted.

If the following elements exist in a relationship between partners, then common law marriage in Oklahoma may be assumed to exist.

  1. The parties involved have a legal capacity to be married. Each of the partners must be of legal age and not legally married to another.
  2. There was a mutual agreement between the partners to be married. Documentation is sufficient evidence to prove a mutual agreement. Such documentation includes joint bank accounts, joint loans, shared property titles, and shared mortgages. Joint bankruptcy and purchasing health insurance as a couple is also evidence of a mutual agreement.
  3. If the partners intended for the relationship to be permanent.
  4. If the couple lives together as husband and wife. However, living together for a long time in and of itself is not sufficient evidence that to a marriage exists.
  5. If the couple presents themselves to the community as man and wife. The court would consider if the couple declared to friends and family that they were married. But such declarations alone are not sufficient grounds to assume a common law marriage exists. Using the same last name is more likely to be considered convincing evidence of the existence of a common law marriage.


If the above elements reveal to you that you have been in a common law marriage, you may need to go through a formal divorce process if the relationship has ended. Just walking out on your partner will not nullify the union, no matter how casually it was put together.

You may still find yourself liable for your partner’s tax obligations and other liabilities. Divorce in a common law marriage in Oklahoma follows the same procedure as divorce in a formally constituted marriage.

A formal Muskogee divorce will protect your estate in the event of your demise. A legal separation allows both parties in a common law marriage the right to remarry without running the risk of being accused of bigamy. Any party getting into a marriage without terminating a common law marriage runs the risk of having the new nuptials annulled.

A formal divorce also allows a partner who may be entitled to spousal support or alimony to get it at the end of a common law marriage in Oklahoma.

Free Consultation: Muskogee Divorce Attorney

Are you facing a divorce in Muskogee and feel that you need help? Get the help you need and avoid making regrettable errors during a time when you are possibly going through intense emotions. Talk to a Muskogee divorce lawyer today.

Our knowledgeable divorce attorneys pride themselves on providing you the best possible legal representation at reasonable rates.

Call 918-913-0725 today for an initial free consultation with a Muskogee divorce attorney. You can also submit the question form at the top right of this page.

"Make law easy!"