Rhode Island recognizes common law marriage, but couples must meet specific legal criteria in order to be considered "married" by the court. They must have lived together for a significant period of time. They must have intended to be married, even if they never had a ceremony or got a marriage license. And, finally, they must have held themselves out as a married couple by, for example, referring to each other as "husband" and "wife."

Unfortunately, common law marriage is a legal matter that generally becomes an issue only when things aren't going well—like when couples who have been together a long time or who have children together decide to split up.

Protecting Relationships, Protecting Assets

How are relationships with the children protected? Who gets the assets that the couple has worked hard to build together? Without the common law marriage doctrine, it is likely that the exes would have little legal recourse to make sure that assets were split fairly and that the parent/child relationship was preserved.

At my Cranston law firm, I represent people who were involved in common law marriages—or whose exes allege common law marriages—in Rhode Island. I use decades of experience and in-depth legal knowledge to protect my clients' rights under the law.

Over the years, I have represented many people who were involved in non-marital relationships that ended. I helped my clients by advocating forcefully for them, working hard to protect their interests through negotiations or mediation, if possible, and by going to court, if necessary. I have earned a reputation for success in Rhode Island family courtrooms.

What to Do

If you are involved in a relationship that is ending and you believe that you might be involved in a dispute, it is important to get help as soon as possible. If necessary, your lawyer can help you take actions that protect your interests immediately. This is often critical to the final outcome of your case.

Start by contacting me online or by calling my Cranston, Rhode Island, law firm at 401-463-5106 to schedule a private consultation. Weekend consultations are available by request.

I represent clients throughout Rhode Island including Cranston, Warwick, Providence, East Providence, Johnston, Smithfield, Lincoln, Barrington, East Greenwich, Cumberland, North Providence, North Kingstown, Warren, West Greenwich, North Smithfield, Scituate, Pawtucket, West Warwick, Woonsocket, Glocester, and Tiverton.