Common Law Laws (in the few states that allow them) too rigorous: they support an antiquated CUSTOM of women not using their birth surnames AND using the perjorative terms "husband" and "wife":

  • a heterosexual couple lives together in a state that recognizes common law marriages
  • for a significant period of time (not defined in any state)
  • holding themselves out as a married couple -- typically this means using the same last name, referring to the other as "my husband" or "my wife" and filing a joint tax return, and
  • intending to be married.


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