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Common-law marriage becomes a family law issue in Kansas

Some of our readers may not know it, but Kansas is one of only eight states that still recognizes common-law marriages. A common-law marriage occurs when a couple agrees to a marriage, but they do not have a marriage license or a formal marriage ceremony. However, according to a recent article, this family law institution may be abolished soon.

As the recent article noted, there is currently a piece of proposed legislation making its way through the Kansas House that would put an end to common-law marriage starting in July of this year. No common-law marriages purportedly entered into from that date forward would be recognized as legal. All common-law marriages prior to that date would still be recognized as legal.

So, what is the biggest problem with common-law marriages? Well, for the most part, it comes down to the lack of legal documents that are needed in many different situations: tax issues, estate planning and funeral decisions.

Many have family law issues that they need to address through the courts, and common-law marriage may be one such issue. Many other people will have other issues when it comes to marriage and divorce, such as property division, child support and custody issues and alimony. It is important for Kansas residents to know the law in any one of these types of situations. Like common-law marriage laws, there may be changes that occur with Kansas laws and regulations that can affect a person's family legal issues.

Source: The Wichita Eagle, "Common-law marriage? Not in Kansas if bill succeeds," Daniel Salazar, Feb. 8, 2017

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