Can Two People Who Are Married at Common Law File Taxes Jointly?

By Jimmy Verner

There are two types of marriages in the United States. One type of marriage is the ceremonial marriage. A ceremonial marriage takes place when the parties obtain a marriage license, then celebrate their marriage before an official who has the power to perform marriages. The other kind of marriage is marriage at common law. Only a handful of states allow common law marriages when the spouses agree that they are married, live together, and hold themselves out to be husband and wife.

IRS Recognizes Common Law Marriage

The Internal Revenue Code allows a married couple to file a joint tax return. To determine whether a couple is married, the federal government looks to state law. The Internal Revenue Code allows a couple that claims to be married at common law to file jointly if they are living together in a common law marriage in a state that recognizes common law marriages. The Internal Revenue Code also permits a couple that married at common law in a state allowing common law marriages to file a joint tax return even when they now live in a state that does not recognize common law marriages.

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Louisiana Annulment Statute

If a marriage does not meet the requirements of Louisiana law, the marriage may be null and void. With an annulment, it is essentially as if the marriage never existed. Divorce relief, such as alimony and child support, is only awarded if the couple actually and reasonably believed the marriage was valid.

How to Get an Annulment in Alabama

Unlike a divorce, while dissolves a marriage, an annulment makes it as though a couple was never married. Alabama law allows you to annul your marriage only under a few specific sets of circumstances, but if you do meet the requirements, the annulment process is similar to that of a divorce. First, you must petition the court and provide evidence backing up your claims; then you must attend a hearing in front of a judge, who will assess the merits of your case.

Is the Absence of Sexual Relations Grounds for Divorce?

Sexual behavior outside the marriage and the lack of sexual relations within the marriage can serve as grounds for divorce in states that continue to allow "fault" divorces. But all fifty states now authorize no-fault divorces, allowing either spouse to dissolve a marriage citing irreconcilable differences. However, you still have the option of filing for divorce on "fault" grounds in many states.

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