Common Law Marriage in Arkansas: Let's Set the Record Straight

There seems to be confusion when people talk about common law marriage. Most people have heard of the concept of common law marriage but aren’t sure what it is or where it is valid. Let’s set the record straight on whether there is such thing as common law marriage in Arkansas. Arkansas does not recognize common law marriages within its boundaries. Meaning, you cannot become married by common law marriage in Arkansas. The Arkansas Supreme Court has made this clear time and time again in cases such as Fryar v. Roberts (2001), Spicer v. Spicer (1965), and Furth v. Furth (1911).


However, Arkansas does recognize marriages formed in other states, whether common law or by marriage certificate and formalities, as long as the state in which the marriage was formed recognizes the marriage as valid. So, for instance, in the Arkansas/Texas border cities of Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas, if a couple has a common law marriage formed while living in Texas and subsequently moves to Arkansas, the marriage is then recognized as valid in Arkansas.



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