TN 29 (05-01)
If the parties entered into a ceremonial marriage that was void because of a legal
impediment, a common-law marriage may later come into being in some States (see GN 00305.075 for State laws) if:
The impediment is later removed; and
The parties continue to live together after removal of the impediment.
State laws vary on the requirements needed to establish a common-law marriage after
removal of an impediment. The laws also vary depending on whether the impediment involved
a prior undissolved marriage or a violation of a restriction imposed in a divorce
For State laws on cohabitation after removal of an impediment, see GN 00305.075. If the State's entry merely says that common-law marriage was recognized at the
relevant time and there is a question as to whether a common-law marriage will arise
upon removal of the legal impediment, follow the procedures in GN 01010.800 ff. for possible submittal to the RCC.
See GN 00305.150 - GN 00305.165. If the marriage was barred in one State and the couple goes into a State where marriage
between them would be permitted, a common-law marriage may arise if the latter State
recognizes common-law marriage.
For questionable cases, follow the procedures in GN 01010.800 ff. for possible submittal to the RCC.
Get proof of the ceremonial marriage and
SSA-754's completed by both the husband and wife or by the surviving spouse.
Then follow the procedure in. . .
both parties are alive
GN 00305.065 (1).
one party is deceased
GN 00305.065 (2).
Follow the development in GN 00305.065 (3).
If the parties were separated temporarily for reasons such as ill health, financial
trouble, employment away from home, or service in the Armed Forces, the living together
requirement may nevertheless be met in some States.
If a legal opinion is needed, follow the procedures in GN 01010.800 ff. for possible submittal to the RCC. Otherwise, make a determination based on existing
precedents as to whether a common-law marriage exists (or existed).