Florida Probate Laws and Common Law Marriage

Probate laws in Florida allow a title to pass automatically to a spouse (with rare exceptions) if the other spouse dies. Does this include common law marriage?

The article below explains the conditions that must be met in order for a common law marriage to be sufficient to pass a title after the death of a spouse.

Does Florida Recognize A Common Law Marriage?

In some cases, yes, the state’s probate laws recognize a common law marriage. Florida Statute 741.211 provides, “[n]o common-law marriage entered into after January 1, 1968, shall be valid”.

Even though under Florida laws, the state no longer recognizes the validity of common law marriages created after January 1, 1968, Florida will respect a common law marriage validly created in a jurisdiction recognizing such marriages as noted in American Airlines, Inc. v. Mejia, 766 So. 2d 305 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000).

So, in order to avoid Florida probate, the property owners would have had to have been a couple in a state that recognizes common law marriages at the time they took title to the estate’s real property.

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