Most divorced couples live apart, usually even before the divorce, but sometimes couples continue to live together after their divorce is final -- perhaps for financial or family reasons -- and sometimes they begin to live with others. When a divorced couple cohabitates in Kansas, it may alter the terms of a divorce decree or become a common law marriage.
Your separation agreement or divorce decree may include terms that will change if you cohabitate. For example, awards of spousal maintenance – or alimony – may state that the spousal maintenance will terminate if you cohabitate. Your ex-spouse could file a petition with the court to terminate your spousal maintenance if he can prove to the court that you cohabitated with someone.
Common Law Marriage
Common law marriage is a marriage without a formal ceremony or marriage license. Kansas is among the few states that currently recognize common law marriage as a valid way to marry. However, just because a divorced couple decides to live together for any reason following their divorce, this does not mean they have a common law marriage even if they live together for an extended period of time. Kansas requires that you have the mental capacity to marry, agree to be married and that you represent to the public that you are married. Otherwise, you do not have a common law marriage.
Effect of Common Law Marriage
If you do create a common law marriage, it is just as binding as a formal marriage. You will be married in every way, even though you never obtained a marriage license. If you choose to end your common law marriage, you must get a divorce.
You and your ex-spouse may wish to sign a cohabitation agreement to avoid confusion. If you wish to create a common law marriage, you can state in your cohabitation agreement that you are intending to marry. If you do not wish to marry, your cohabitation agreement can include a statement that you do not consider yourself to be married.