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Common Law MarriageA Legal Institution for Cohabitation$
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Göran Lind

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195366815

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195366815.001.0001

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Cohabitation, Holding Out, and Reputation as Spouses

Cohabitation, Holding Out, and Reputation as Spouses

(p.469) CHAPTER 8 Cohabitation, Holding Out, and Reputation as Spouses
Common Law Marriage

Göran Lind

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how cohabitation in American law is assigned a different function as a requisite, i.e., as a necessary requirement for the establishment of a common law marriage in addition to the marriage contract. It assesses the underlying motives for the requirement and structure of the principle of cohabitation, as well as identifies its different elements. The boundaries of the principle are significant because they determine the scope of common law marriage, which couples fall outside or inside the regulatory system, determining who receives the rights, as well as the obligations, of marriage. It is common in both the legislation and case law to have a separate requirement that the parties outwardly appear as spouses in addition to the requirement of cohabitation. This requirement focuses on either the parties actions in themselves, in other words, their holding out as spouses, or on the effects thereof, i.e., their reputation as husband and wife.

Keywords:   American law, common law, informal marriage, pure contract principle

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