Common law marriage in Alabama requires a showing of the following elements:

  • Capacity
  • Mutual agreement to enter a permanent marriage relationship
  • Some public recognition of the relationship as a marriage
  • A public assumption of marital duties and cohabitation

To establish a common law marriage, there must be clear and convincing evidence that the parties lived as husband and wife.  An important issue is whether or not the parties believed, or considered themselves to be married.  Other evidence can be used to establish a common law marriage , such as whether or not the couple shared household expenses, held joint accounts at the bank, or did they file joint tax returns.