Does Common Law Marriage Exist in New Mexico?

The short answer is no, with one exception.

Common Law Marriage is defined as a couple living together for a period of time and holding themselves out to friends and family as “being married,” but not having actually obtained a marriage license in their state. Common law marriage is not recognized in the State of New Mexico as valid and as such, New Mexico couples who have not obtained a marriage license valid in New Mexico will not be recognized as legally married. There is one exception to this, though.

New Mexico does recognize common law marriages only if the marriage would have been held legal in another state. For example, if an unmarried couple from Colorado recently moved to New Mexico and one of the parties filed for divorce, then that party would have to claim the couple was married under the common law marriage law of Colorado. To do so, the party would have to show the couple had lived together for an extended period in Colorado, they intended to be married, and held themselves out as married to their community in Colorado. If the couple met the requirements of common law marriage of Colorado while living in Colorado, then New Mexico courts could proceed with the divorce as if the couple were legally married within the state of New Mexico.

While couples from New Mexico cannot proceed with a divorce without a valid marriage license, New Mexico will recognize common law marriages that have been transferred from other states.

If you have questions about common law marriage and divorce, contact a divorce attorney or call our office at 505-872-0505 to schedule an appointment.