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Dec 17, 2017
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  Wedding Ideas: Do-It-Yourself

True or False? To get married all you need is a license and a preacher.

False. You need neither. Alabama is one of ten states, along with the District of Columbia that allow common law marriages.

The laws on common law marriage vary from state to state, all generally require intent, capacity, action and disclosure. What this means is both parties must enter willingly with clear understanding, be old enough to get married, not married to someone else--common-law or otherwise, not legally insane and live the life of married folks.

So if you want to get hitched today, go ahead and exchange your vows (do it in writing and don't forget to sign and date), move in, tell your family and friends, shout it form the rooftops, change your Facebook status to "Married" and off you go into wedded bliss.

One warning: there is no common law divorce. You will need the real one of those from a judge if things do not work out. There is a "try it before you buy it" clause in the Alabama law. Either party can call it off in the first six months, no questions asked, it never happened. After that call your friends and throw a party because you are legally married in the eyes of the State of Alabama and in it for the long haul.

Incidentally, common law marriages are equal opportunity in D.C. and Iowa, which also allow same-sex marriages.

Disclaimer: No representation... What? Do I look like a lawyer?

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