Does a common law marriage automatically apply if a couple is living together for a certain amount of years?
No, at least not in the jurisdiction where I practice divorce and family law (Utah).
Here is what must be proven (or stipulated between the litigating parties) under Utah law to establish a common law marriage (a marriage “not solemnized” means a marriage that is not formally/officially performed by one authorized to perform marriage ceremonies (like a religious leader authorized to perform the religious rite of marriage or judge who is authorized to perform a civil wedding ceremony):
(1) A marriage which is not solemnized according to this chapter shall be legal and valid if a court or administrative order establishes that it arises out of a contract between a man and a woman who:
(a) are of legal age and capable of giving consent;
(b) are legally capable of entering a solemnized marriage under the provisions of this chapter;
(c) have cohabited;
(d) mutually assume marital rights, duties, and obligations; and
(e) who hold themselves out as and have acquired a uniform and general reputation as husband and wife.
(2) The determination or establishment of a marriage under this section shall occur during the relationship described in Subsection (1), or within one year following the termination of that relationship. Evidence of a marriage recognizable under this section may be manifested in any form, and may be proved under the same general rules of evidence as facts in other cases.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277