I love when my friends start dating. First you hear all about them. Then you meet them. They fall in love and then make the big announcement that they are moving in together as the next step. How exciting!
It is not uncommon today for couples to live together. It is a great way to spend more time with and get to know each other better. And let’s face it; it is a great way to save money in today’s economy. I have friends that have been together for 5-10+ year, who admit they will probably get married, just not sure when. Yet they hold themselves out as husband and wife to their friends. They have kids, joint bank accounts, and purchase houses with each other. And the rings on their fingers would make you believe they already walked down the aisle, even though you can’t remember the invite to the wedding.
Most people would believe they have a common law marriage. But what is a common law marriage? Black’s Law Dictionary 7th Edition defines it as “a marriage that takes legal effect, without license or ceremony, when a couple live together as husband and wife, intend to be married, and hold themselves out to others as a married couple.” So by definition, yeah, they have a common law marriage. But is it a legal marriage?
The answer is no. States, particularly Arizona, do not recognize common law marriage. A.R.S. 25-111(B)(1) says a marriage contract not valid unless “A license is issued…” You can hold yourselves out as husband and wife, but the law only sees you as companions. You have no legal rights like a licensed marriage does. So what does that mean for you?
If you were to break up, you would not be entitled to the benefits a normal divorce would provide. Although the law will still evaluate child support, you will not get spousal maintenance or will you not be entitled to any community property acquired during the relationship, unless your name is on it.
But let’s say you’re not breaking up because you do have that everlasting love. Not getting that marriage license also has ramifications when it comes to making decisions while you are together that only married couples can make or benefits received. If you are not legally married, you will not be able to receive social security, Medicare, or disability benefits transferred to you. You two won’t qualify for certain health care packages or be able to make medical decisions for each other if need be. You won’t to inherit your loved one’s estate, no matter how long you had been living together. You won’t be able to make burial or other final arrangements. In the moments you need to take care of each other the most, you might have a legal battle to fight as well.
In today’s society where 50% of marriages end in divorce, paired with all the horror stories of friends who have got divorce and the ugly battle that pursues, it is understandable why there is no race to get the license. But it is up to you to decide what is right for you. For me, when I meet the right guy and fall in everlasting love with him that can stand the test of time, I will choose to get the license. But I will also get a premarital agreement, just in case. A girl still has to protect her assets! If you want to have an experienced attorney who will be able to spot these small details and work to defend you aggressively, contact our office and set up a consultation with our incredible Criminal Defense Team.
Jolita Bennett, Dodge & Vega PLC
Dodge & Vega PLC founded by Ben Dodge, attorney at law. Ben is an Affordable Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer, Entrepreneur, Endurance Athlete, and Extreme Ultra Cyclist.
A consultation with experienced Arizona Divorce Attorney Ben Dodge is free
Understanding your rights and what you are entitled too, Ben Dodge is known as a serious litigator. There are two types of attorneys, those that sit behind a desk and push paper and those who actually hit the court room in the real world and get things done. Ben is a litigator who thrives in the court room. He once said: “It is one thing to tell your clients you are a good lawyer, it is an entirely different thing to be willing to prove it to them while they watch you do your work in front of them, in front of a jury watching your every move, in front of a judge, and your peers who are lawyers on the other side if your case. I love the opportunity to go to court and put my money where my mouth is.
In my experience most lawyers are either afraid of the court room or not good at it and belong behind a desk or both.” -Ben Dodge Ben is one a very few lawyers trained in advance litigation skills through the National Institute of Trial Attorneys (NITA) and has earned the designation as a NITA Advocate.
The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in the law, civil procedures, local and state ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and even the court room politics that always play out.
Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all clients. For those who live out of state or are otherwise busy with work, etc. Ben will do a complimentary phone consultation as well. Typically the consultations are scheduled from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the case. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal, family, or business issues. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:
- What your legal issue is really about.
- Whether or not you have any chance of winning and how to make that possible.
- Our unique and incredible fee structure making Dodge & Vega lawyers affordable for almost any budget.
- Your specific case details, any pictures, police reports, or any other evidence you provide for his review.
- The applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
- Your rights, obligations, and any potential liability.
- The process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.
You can call Arizona Lawyer Ben Dodge of Dodge & Vega, PLC at 1.480.656.8333. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Someone from our office will personally return your call within 24 hours to schedule an appointment with Mr. Dodge or one o his associate attorneys. There is never an obligation past a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in relentless representation and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness, compassion, and patience. We strive to make a legal experience with our firm one of the most outstanding customer service experiences you will ever have and to do so without you having to go broke! Lawyers can be incredible and affordable. Let us show you how.
Dodge & Vega, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, your incredible Arizona Lawyer today at 1.480.656.8333.
Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at [email protected]
His main Arizona offices are located at:
Mesa Arizona (home base office)
7227 E. Baseline Rd. STE 109,
Mesa, Arizona 85209
Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback Rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701