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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

16 SEP 2011

Common-law marriage: myths and misunderstandings [2008] CFLQ 1

Rebecca Probert

Professor

This article investigates the source of the myth that prior to 1753 cohabiting couples would have been protected by a 'common-law marriage'. It shows that neither the term nor the concept existed at the time and traces modern misunderstandings to the early nineteenth century. It goes on to suggest that the widespread but mistaken belief among modern cohabitants in the existence of 'common-law marriage' must also be of recent origin.

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