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Family Law

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Court of Protection Practice and Procedure Conference 2016

A comprehensive guide to best practice and current thinking

16 SEP 2011

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

Rebecca Probert


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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