A very strange case in Pennsylvania has left one woman without the ability to get divorced, even though she wants to, because there is not enough evidence that she and the man whom she called her husband were married. They had never gone through an official wedding ceremony, instead deciding to use a common law marriage. While this is not something that Pennsylvania recognizes any longer, she alleges that it was done before that change to the laws in 2005.
The woman says that the couple, before they purchased a house, talked about how they considered each other to be husband and wife. She even presented the judge with a card that she had gotten on Mother’s Day, from her partner, in which she is referred to as his wife. On top of that, she said that he gave her a ring a few years later in 2003 while her children watched.
She wanted to have their assets split up equally as a result of the divorce.
The man, though, countered her claims. He said that they never thought of each other as husband and wife and that he never agreed to look at their relationship as a common law marriage. Though they had children together, he successfully argued that there was never a marriage between them. The judge sided with him, saying that the lack of evidence meant that it was impossible to prove that a marriage existed, so no divorce was needed.
In cases like this, a break-up between two couples can be very complex, so it is important for all people to know exactly what rights they have and how their relationship is viewed by the state.
Source: The Patriot-News, “You can’t get divorced because you can’t prove you were married, Pa. court tells woman” Matt Miller, Oct. 10, 2014