Alaska Common Law Marriage
What is Common-Law Marriage in Alaska?
Common-law marriage is a legal situation where a couple is considered married in the absence of a solemnization procedure or a state formal wedding. Couples often use this to avoid the large expense that is associated with having a formal marriage ceremony or solemnization procedure. While Alaska ranks as one of the highest states with unmarried cohabiting couples, common-law marriages can not be contracted within the jurisdiction of the state. However, the state of Alaska recognizes common-law marriages carried out in other jurisdictions, so long as all the guidelines of said jurisdiction were properly followed during the creation of such a marriage.
According to Alaska State Statutes - Sec. 25.05.311. Marriage without solemnization - all marriages contracted before January 1st, 1964 without solemnization are duly recognized by the state. Marriages contracted after then must however be properly solemnized in the state to gain validity within the Alaskan jurisdiction.
In a bid to prove the validity of common-law marriages created in other jurisdictions in the State of Alaska, it is important to provide documentation and proof that the said marriage was created in accordance with the guidelines of the originating jurisdiction. Generally, several states require the couple to prove cohabitation, financial interdependence and act like a couple in the community. Some other jurisdictions where common-law marriages are allowed ask the couple to prove the community recognizes them as husband and wife - this can often be achieved by attending events together as husband and wife and documenting such events accordingly.
Thus, getting the state to accept the validity of common-law marriages contracted in other states must be done via concrete evidence and properly curated documents.
Marriage in Alaska
In 2019, the marriage rate in Alaska was 6.5 marriages per 1,000. The 2019 marriage rates from Alaska represent the lowest marriage rate from the state since 1990. The 2019 Alaskan marriage rate is also higher than the federal average of 6.1 marriages per 1,000. The divorce rate in the state is 3.6 marriages per 1,000, which is also conspicuously higher than the national average of 2.7 marriages per 1,000 for the year 2019.
Does Alaska Recognize Common-law Marriages?
Alaska does not recognize common-law marriages that have been created in the Jurisdiction of the state. According to the statutes of the state of Alaska - Sec. 25.05.311. Marriage without solemnization all marriages created in the state of Alaska must be solemnized accordingly. Marriages that were created without solemnization before January 1st, 1964 are viewed as valid by the state and are accorded the rights and privileges that would accrue to a formally conducted marriage. The State of Alaska also allows for the recognition of the validity of common-law marriages that have been contracted outside the jurisdiction of the state of Alaska. Provided that the common-law marriage was created in accordance with rules and guidelines of the jurisdiction where such a marriage was formed. Thus, it is important that couples in a common-law marriage from other jurisdictions outside the state of Alaska submit enough proof and documented evidence that their marriage was formed in strict accordance with guidelines laid down by the originating jurisdiction. This is very important when seeking the state of Alaska to recognize the validity of such a marriage.
What is a Domestic Partnership in Alaska?
A domestic partnership in Alaska refers to a civil union where an unmarried couple lives together without marriage intentions. In the state of Alaska, such an arrangement is valid but may not attract all the rights and privileges that come with a formally conducted marriage. Domestic partners in the state of Alaska can be same-sex couples or heterosexual couples. Partners in such arrangements may not be entitled to property settlements in the case of the termination of such partnership as couples in a formal marriage are entitled to.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement in Alaska?
A cohabitation agreement in the State of Alaska is a legal document created between unmarried persons that properly lays out the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of each couple. A cohabitation agreement is instrumental in the protection of the rights and privileges of unmarried couples in the state of Alaska. In the event of a termination of a relationship between unmarried persons, any of the parties involved can file a “domestic partnership case” to make claims on assets and liabilities. A key determining factor in the distribution and sharing of assets and liabilities after a relationship has been terminated is an instrument - such as a cohabitation agreement, that shows express or implied intent as regards all assets and liabilities and each partner's interest in the ownership of such properties. A cohabitation agreement is the best instrument used to show each partner's expressed or implied intent during a settlement after the termination of an unmarried relationship.
Alaska Common-law Marriage and Palimony
Palimony is the law that allows for the sharing of property in the case of a dissolution of a relationship between unmarried couples. While the state of Alaska does not give credence to palimony via state statutes, the case between William L. LEVAR v. Mary ELKINS: Supreme Court of Alaska - No. 3917. (January 4, 1980) is the reference case when courts in Alaska examine palimony cases. The state courts recognize the validity of palimony based on contractual agreement - a contractual agreement must stipulate express or implied intent of each party involved in the relationship regarding assets and liabilities in the case of a termination of a relationship between an unmarried couple.
What Are the Requirements for a Common-law Marriage in Alaska?
The state of Alaska does not allow for the creation of common-law marriages within its jurisdiction. However, Alaska recognizes common-law marriages that have been created in other jurisdictions. Generally, the requirements to prove a common-law marriage across the country would usually entail - establishing cohabitation, being financially responsible for each other, and acting as husband and wife to the full knowledge of the immediate community where the couple resides.
How many years do you have to Live Together for Common-law Marriage in Alaska?
Since the state of Alaska does not allow for the formation of common-law marriage within its jurisdiction, there are no guidelines as regards the timeline that must elapse for a common-law marriage to be considered valid. However, since the state of Alaska allows for the recognition of common-law marriages formed in other jurisdictions, it is important that common-law couples coming to reside in the state obey the time guidelines of the originating jurisdiction - so that their marriage is seen as valid in the state of Alaska.
What is an Informal Marriage in Alaska?
Informal marriage is the common-law marriage equivalent in the state of Texas. According to Texas law - Texas Code section 2.401 -2.405 informal marriages offer the same implications and bear similarities to common law marriages that have been contracted in other jurisdictions outside of Texas. While informal marriages/common-law marriages cannot be formed in the state of Alaska, an informal marriage is just another name used to refer to common-law marriages formed in the state of Texas.
What Does it Mean to be Legally Free to Marry in Alaska?
The state of Alaska ensures that all persons in the state are legally free to marry, so long as the union meets all the requirements that make it legal in the state including that - the couple must be of legal age to give consent, must not be related by blood, must be mentally and physically capable to enter into a marriage contract.
What is Intent to Marry in Alaska?
An intent to marry simply describes a circumstance where a couple shows a willingness to marry and makes further plans to get into marriage and solemnize the union after obtaining a marriage license in the state of Alaska.
How Do You Prove common-law Marriage in Alaska?
The state of Alaska does not recognize common-law marriages created in the state. However, to prove a common-law marriage in other jurisdictions the following documentation would suffice as proof:
- Proof of shared residence - providing documents like identity cards indicating the same address, etc.
- Proof of financial dependence/financial co-responsibility - proof of documents that indicate joint accounts, joint tax filings, etc.
- Present each other to the immediate community as a couple via invitation cards to the couple indicating husband and wife status, photographs, and paraphernalia showing the couple together as husband and wife.
Third-party websites provide an alternative to obtaining public vital records. These non-governmental platforms come with intuitive search tools that help simplify the process of accessing single or multiple records. However, record availability on third-party sites tends to vary because they’re independent of government sources. To obtain public marriage records, requesters may need to provide:
- The full name of both spouses (include first, middle, and last names)
- The date the marriage occurred (month, date and year)
- The location where the marriage occurred (city and county)
How Do You Prove common-law Marriage in Alaska After Death?
To prove common-law marriage it is important to present the document that was submitted to establish the validity of such a marriage. One of the most efficient instruments used in proving common-law marriage after the death of a spouse is a will. A will is the best instrument and couples should endeavor to register wills collectively in case of the demise of a partner.
Do Common-law Marriages Require a Divorce?
Common-law marriages cannot be created in the state of Alaska, thus there are no guidelines that provide for a common-law couple to divorce. However, a common-law marriage that has been contracted in another jurisdiction, if recognized by the state of Alaska would require a divorce in the case of a dissolution of such a marriage. A divorce proceeding is to be initiated by the courts in Alaska and divorce proceedings usually take between 30 to 90 days to be concluded.
Does a Common-law Wife Have Rights in Alaska?
The state of Alaska does not recognize the validity of common-law marriages contracted in the state. However common-law marriages that have been created in other jurisdictions and duly recognized by the state have all the rights and privileges that accrue to a couple who conducted a formal legal wedding. Thus for common-law marriages contracted in other jurisdictions, the common-law wives are entitled to rights and privileges provided to wives of a formal marriage in the state of Alaska. Such rights include - property sharing rights for jointly owned properties, insurance / medical care rights, retirement benefits, social security benefits, tenancy by the entirety, etc.
Can a Common-law Wife Collect Social Security in Alaska?
The right to collect social security is guaranteed for all marriages that have been duly recognized by the state of Alaska. The benefits are available to common-law marriage wives so long as they meet all the requirements for collecting the benefits including being above the age of 62.
How Do You Get A common-law Marriage Affidavit in Alaska?
Since the state of Alaska does not allow for the formation of common-law marriages in its jurisdiction, there are no instructions on how to get a common-law marriage affidavit from the state. Marriage licenses and certificates are valid proof of marriage in the state of Alaska. Marriage licenses can be retrieved from the Alaska Department Of Health And Social Services after filling the Marriage License Application Form, the marriage certificates can be retrieved from the same organization located at:
Alaska Department Of Health And Social Services
Health Analytics & Vital Records Section
P.O. Box 110675
Juneau, Ak 99811-0675
Does the Federal Government Recognize Alaska Common-law
Common-law marriages cannot be contracted in the state of Alaska. Therefore, it's legally impossible for the Federal Government to recognize Alaskan common-law marriage. However, common-law marriages contracted in the following states - South Carolina, Texas, New Hampshire, Utah, Rhode Island, Kansas, Iowa, Montana, and Colorado are valid and recognized by the federal government.