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question regarding commonlaw marriage and annulment

Discussion in 'Divorce, Separation, Annulment' started by wicce, Feb 11, 2002.

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  1. wicce

    wicce Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was married in a commonlaw ceremony in PA, which recognizes commonlaw marriages if certain criteria exist; my husband and I were married by a minister, in front of 13 witnesses, after which time he added me to his company's health insurance as his wife and listed me as his spouse on his life insurance. He introduced me as his wife and everyone in our lives knew we were fully living as husband and wife.

    Seven months later he moved out on me with no reason given, and moved in with his parents in Tampa Florida. Now he is claiming that we were never married because he never considered the wedding to have been real and that it was a lie, a farce that he was "going through the motions" in order to keep me happy.

    My question is, since he refuses to file for divorce because of his refusal to admit that our marriage was legal, is it possible to have this marriage annulled? I feel unable to put it behind me without some form of closure, and I would like to know what my rights are in this case. An additional problem is that I do not have a full time job and cannot afford a lengthy legal battle.... Please help!
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    That's a difficult question and you may want to have a consultation with a PA family law attorney. Generally, my understanding is that if a common law marriage is recognized, a divorce would be required. Annulment is available only in special circumstances, such as incapacity (e.g. drunk).

    A common law marriage may exist when:
    1) a heterosexual couple is married
    2) they live together for some undefined significant period of time
    3) They hold themselves out as a married couple such as filing a joint tax return -- possibly the same in your insurance situation
    4) Intending to be married.

    There might be a problem here although one never knows. If you won the lottery, I'm sure he'd run home claiming you were married. He should simply agree to a consentual divorce and be done with it.
     

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