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Call Number: KFN1280 .N48
Publication Date: 2014
"[W]hen the parties cohabit, mutually acknowledge each other as husband and wife, and have the general reputation in the community as being a married couple for at least three years, a legal marriage exists upon the death of one spouse. Unfortunately, one-half of the couple must be dead and the marriage terminated before it can legally be declared to have been a marriage. This is otherwise known as the "I'd rather be dead than married" statute." p. 2-15.
Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution
Call Number: KF535.P752 A7 2002
Publication Date: 2002
"Often understood as a doctrine of convenience adopted in early America for frontier settlers lacking easy access to clergy or county clerks, the doctrine [of common-law marriage] began to wane in the late 19th century."
FindLaw. What is Common Law Marriage?
In the United States, common law marriage has been in existence since the horse and buggy days of 1877. While it might sound like an archaic form of marriage, it's still technically around today in one form or another in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, five states recognize common law marriage with some restrictions.
Read New Hampshire Law ...
New Hampshire Statutes
RSA 457. Marriages
In New Hampshire, common law (or “non-ceremonial”) marriage is recognized only to the limited extent provided by RSA 457:39. The statute uses the phrase “cohabitation” not “common law marriage.”
New Hampshire Cases
163 N.H. 202 (2012). In re Mallett
"In New Hampshire, marriage is controlled by statute. To constitute a valid, legal marriage, the union of two people must comply with the requirements of RSA chapter 457. Common law marriage is not recognized, except to the limited extent provided in RSA 457:39. Under RSA 457:39, when two persons cohabit and acknowledge each other as husband and wife, and are generally reputed as such, for at least three years and until the death of one of them, the survivor may be treated as the spouse of the deceased."
168 N.H. 707 (2016). Brooks v. Allen
[O]ur refusal to apply the divorce statute to the dissolution of non-marital living arrangements does not prevent equitable adjustment of the rights of the parties, that either party may bring a bill in equity or petition for declaratory judgment to determine equitably the rights of parties in particular property, and that a court will enforce an action in contract “to the extent that it is not founded upon the consideration of meretricious sexual relations.
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Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.