Although two people may not have been married by obtaining a marriage license and engaging in a traditional wedding ceremony, Utah law provides that a court may find that a common law marriage exists under certain circumstances. A court may declare the existence of a common law marriage where parties have held themselves out to the public as a married couple and otherwise engaged in behavior suggesting that they married. For example, having children together, jointly owning property, filing of joint taxes and maintaining joint financial accounts are examples of the types of circumstances where a Court may declare a common law marriage. Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement that the parties live together for a certain period of time in order for the court to declare a common law marriage.
Once a court finds that a common law marriage exists, the parties will have the same rights as if they were formally married, including but not limited to, insurance, social security and survivor benefits. Parties in a common law marriage may get divorced under the same laws and rules governing formal marriages.