Defending Yourself in Criminal Cases

Posted on January 3, 2016 in Civil Law

When an individual is criminally charged, the law gives him the right to a lawyer or counsel. However, this includes the right to represent one’s self in the trial. Defending yourself in criminal cases may be a little bit odd, but it is possible, with the authorization of the judge concerned. This means, such right to self-representation although vested, is not automatic.

If you are charged with a crime and you stand trial for such, you will be given the right to an attorney or be assigned one if you will make a request and if you can validly show that you cannot afford to hire one. On the other hand, if you tell the judge that you will be defending yourself, the judge will have to hold a meeting where you need to answer questions to make sure that you fully understand what you are letting yourself into. You must understand that defending yourself in criminal cases is tantamount to waiving the right to counsel, which is a serious business.

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Courts would like to ensure that criminal trials are objective and rational; hence, judges, in turn, would like to make sure that defending yourself in criminal cases is not something that you do haphazardly. The judge needs to know that you fully understand what you are asking, and you can convince him that you are capable of representing yourself on trial and understand the risks of not having a lawyer.

If the judge doubts your ability to represent yourself, he will either disallow you to act per se or appoint a lawyer to protect your rights, until your competency can be ascertained. This process may involve requiring you to undergo a psychological evaluation.

Defending yourself in criminal cases may make sense in some situations. In general, the severity of the punishment that a crime entails will have a lot to say whether you need to hire a lawyer to defend you or just represent yourself at trial; thus, the lighter the punishment, the more likely that self-representation is viable. For instance, if you are charged with shoplifting or some traffic offenses, you may survive the trial without hiring a lawyer. However, if you are charged with violent crimes such as murder, you should need to get the assistance of a legal counsel.

On the other hand, some crimes have punishments that may appear relatively negligible but have harsh consequences in the future. So, before deciding whether to hire a lawyer or self-represent yourself, you should first try to learn what the sentence is likely to be if ever you are convicted and its ramifications, later on, should you be arrested again for a similar crime in the future.

Learning about the typical sentences for specific crimes can be quite difficult. Court rules or statutes don’t usually list these common punishments. However, some states have “determinate sentencing laws”, which provide specific punishments for each crime. Depending on the circumstances involved, the judge may add or subtract a year or two from the punishment. If you are serious about defending yourself in criminal cases, it may be of great assistance to your cause if you will try to learn all about these typical punishments for crimes.

Slander and Libel – The Two Forms of Defamation

Posted on December 3, 2015 in Civil Law

Telling lies is a daily occurrence within any society, and telling lies about someone can be a common occurrence in everyday life. There are times where these circumstances are handled well by just a moment of discussion. Other times, it would lead to hot-headedness and a few exchanges of angry words. Telling false statements can be harsh and be done anytime and anywhere — and these false statements can lead to something as creating serious damage to another person’s reputation.

Under defamation, defined as any statement/s that can damage one’s reputation, are two forms on which the act can be done. Identified as slander and libel as the two said forms, these twos are becoming less distinct. Plus, a lot of people are confused about the difference between the two forms of defamation. So what exactly is the difference between slander and libel?

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Slander, the first of the two forms of defamation, is harming someone else’s reputation, either through false or misleading information, in transitory form. Speaking of false words and statements are the most elements that are taken into account. The use of hand gestures, facial expressions, or any body language can also be accounted if it helps deliver the untrue information more to another.

Libel, on the other hand, is the second form of defamation which is telling false remarks about the victim in a “more fixed form”: by publications of untrue remarks on media. This includes newspapers, magazines, books, television, radio, and even social media.

Though both are considered to be acts of defamation, slander tends to be given a “pass,” unless the individual’s reputation is highly regarded or the individual is famous or well-known. Nevertheless, perpetrators cannot be imprisoned, but slander is considered to be civilly wrong.

In the United States of America, there exists a Lawsuit for Defamation due to the victim wanting the recovery of his or her previous reputation. The Defamation Lawsuit’s main goal is to be able to justify and show to the public that the given statements of the perpetrator about or to the victim are false. However, there lies a controversy between this lawsuit and the English Law. Since the Defamation Lawsuit’s goal is to prove that the statement by the perpetrator is false, the English Law allows the defendant to defend himself against the claims of defamation claims that he or she did to the victim, and question or critically analyze if the victim’s claim is considered to be either absolutely or substantially true. With this, the Defamation Lawsuit and the English Law have not only made things complicated, but both the lawsuit and law have questioned the freedom of speech of both individuals as well.

In conclusion, as much as there is a difference between slander and libel, both forms still fall under defamation and may not be so different after all if you look at them in their most basic form. Both have the potential to hurt someone’s reputation and possibly self-esteem. Most of all, these twos have the potential to abuse the freedom of one’s speech.

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How to Hire a Lawyer for a Criminal Case

Posted on November 13, 2015 in Civil Law Legal Services

If you are facing charges and accused of committing a crime, you have the right to get your lawyer to defend you in court. Hiring a lawyer for a criminal case is very important because he is the one who will help you get through this legal battle and present the evidence to free you from legal implications.

Here is the guide to help you in hiring a lawyer for a criminal case:

•    Find the right criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Choose a lawyer who is familiar with the kind of case you are facing. If your offense is against the state law, you need an attorney who specializes in cases such as breach of contracts, traffic violations, family disputes and robbery. If you are charged with federal violation or cases such as bankruptcy, patent or copyright offenses, and violation of US Constitution, you need a federal lawyer. Federal cases are more complex and need lawyers with a good reputation in handling these cases. You need a seasoned and credible criminal defense lawyer to handle your case for better chances of winning.

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•    Choose a competent lawyer who specializes in the defense you need. Look for special designations that will prove his credibility and expertise in cases like yours. He can expertly help you understand the nature of the charges against you, possible and available defenses, plea-bargains that will be offered to you and what will be the outcome in the case of conviction.

•    A good defense lawyer knows how to identify essential pre-trial issues that will improve your situation to the extent of dismissal of charges. Select someone who has a reputation of making sound negotiations during plea bargaining and prepare the defense moves before the trial. Here are some positive things an expert criminal defense attorney can make: (1) reduction of the criminal charge to a lesser offense; (2) elimination of jail time such as probation and (3) reduction of punishment.

•    Choose an attorney who can represent you even in higher court. These lawyers are called appellate attorneys who are more experienced and certified to handle appeals on decisions done by lower courts. It is better if he has handled a lot of similar cases and has a list of successful court battles.

•    Make sure that the lawyer is currently practicing criminal defense in the court where you will be tried. Criminal laws differ in different states as well as the penalties imposed. It is very vital that your defense lawyer knows the local rules of court in your state so he can represent your case expertly.

•    To find the perfect defense lawyer, you can ask for referrals from relatives and friends. You can also check different lawyers’ online directories such as FindLaw and Lawyers.com. Another good way of choosing an ideal attorney to handle your case is to sit in court and look for a lawyer who can impress you with his ability to represent his client. Then make a professional background check if he is the one for you.

You can also check organizations of criminal defense lawyers in your area. Lawyers are usually members of County and State Bar Associations. If your choice is a member of National Association of Criminal Defense System or State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he is a very qualified candidate to represent you.

•    Finally, call for an appointment. Check if you need to pay for the initial consultation. It is better if you can speak with him over the phone for initial questions. Trust your instinct when you finally meet your possible lawyer. If you are uncomfortable, do not hire him. If you think he is the best lawyer to handle your case, hire him. Make sure you understand the fee agreement contract before signing and get a copy.

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Filing a Case against Medical Malpractice

Posted on October 5, 2015 in Personal Injury Case

It is a natural reaction for people to go to the hospital in case of illness or injury. However, there are instances wherein the patients receive wrong diagnosis and poor medical treatment from healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, medical workers and other people working in the field of health. To resolve the issue, a patient can file a medical malpractice claim.

A medical malpractice claim is a direct legal action that can be taken by patients who were directly affected by negligent actions by a medical professional or a medical provider. Since medical professionals and hospitals are responsible for the well-being of their patients, they are expected to carry out their duties responsibly under their code of ethics. Their actions need to address the patient’s healthy by providing accurate diagnosis and treatment. Any failure or negligence in delivering the expected medical care to the patients will result in a medical malpractice claim. This article will discuss the basics of filing a case against medical malpractice.

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Understanding the Legal Requirements Needed in Filing a Claim

Knowing the legal requirements for filing a case against medical malpractice is one of the first few steps that you need to undertake. For a patient to be considered for a medical malpractice claim, the patient in questions needs to submit proof that he or she suffer from an injury or some form of damage caused by the negligence and wrongful actions from the medical professional. These actions need not be directly inflicted as a faulty prescription or misdiagnosis can still be considered as a medical malpractice due to its long-term effects.

The primary reason patients need to file a case against medical malpractice is to recoup finances from the emotional stress and physical injury inflicted by the doctor’s negligence. The laws associated with medical malpractice claims are dictated through state interpretation which also varies each state.

Some states require patients to submit a certificate of merit to serve as proof that the injuries they are suffering were the result of medical malpractice. To secure a certificate of merit, you need to get in touch with another expert, usually another medical practitioner to study your medical records and certify that the doctor in question deviated from the appropriate medical practices, which resulted in damages in your mental and physical well-being. The lawyer will then file the certificate of merit to confirm that a third-party medical expert who provides merit to your claims.

How to File a Medical Malpractice Case

You need to gather all necessary information regarding your case to recoup the expenses you incurred due to the emotional distress and physical injury caused by the doctor’s negligent actions. You will need to take note of all the actions that your doctor carried out, diagnoses, prescriptions and all proof of time or wages lost due to the injury. These pieces of information will be presented at the medical malpractice trial.

As soon as you gather all necessary information regarding your case, and you have fully understood your state’s interpretive laws regarding medical malpractice, you will need to hire a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice cases to better facilitate your claim. You can utilize numerous resources such as the internet, yellow pages or direct recommendations to hire an attorney. Talking to them is the best way to know more about filing a case against medical malpractice.

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How to File a Temporary Restraining Order

Posted on July 6, 2015 in Civil Law

In divorce cases, the status of minor children is usually the most sensitive aspect between couples.  There also may be a significant amount of property and financial assets at stake for distribution. Filing a divorce action means that for the statuses of minor children and marital assets need to be determined as of a certain date and the marriage needs to effectively be put on hold so that the legal system can more effectively determine the proper disposition of these issues.

In the case of property and financial assets, locations and values need to be verified and “movement” of these items can impede this valuation. Too much “post-separation movement” while the divorce action is being arbitrated can be potentially confusing for both sides and can be costly especially when attorneys, accountants, and other outside consultants are trying to assess the value of the marital “estate”.  The legal instrument that carries out this cessation of marital activity is the Temporary Restraining Order.

How to file a temporary restraining order? In some states, like California, the Temporary Restraining Order Provision is already summarized at the back of the Petition for Dissolution. In other words, the legal statutes of certain states dictate that certain activities involving financial assets and minor children should be stopped or abated UPON agreement by the couple that a divorce should actually be consummated.

In this case, the Temporary Restraining Order becomes an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order. An Automatic Temporary Restraining Order becomes immediately effective when the petitioner files the divorce action, and upon the service of a summons.  The Temporary Restraining Order remains in effect until the final judgment for dissolution is signed by the court.

In other states that do not provide for Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders, a separate filing needs to be made in conjunction with the filing for the petition for divorce. In some cases, parties often have incur the additional expense of filing for an ex parte or emergency Temporary Restraining Order especially where there is some fear that a party or parties will be damaged by the actions of the other party during the hearing process.

The important thing to remember is that whether a Temporary Restraining Order is automatic or not, it can still be subject to changes after the initial Temporary Restraining Order has been agreed upon and approved by the court.

The following prohibitions and restrictions can be included in a Temporary Restraining Order:

Financial Assets

  • Loans may not be taken out with community property as security or collateral. In other words, pledging this property as security for debt by either party is not allowed even if the title or possession of the property is not transferred to the prospective lender,
  • Joint bank and investment accounts may not be closed and the amounts transferred to the separate account of one of the parties,
  • Items and cash cannot be removed from a safe deposit box or safe and transferred under the control of one of the parties,

–   Assets cannot be destroyed and they cannot be hidden from the   spouse, and

–   Other parties may not be added as co-owners of existing property.

Financial instruments

  • The cash from a life insurance policy may not be taken out and the proceeds deposited into a separate account,
  • Beneficiaries from life insurance policies cannot be changed,
  • The spouse cannot be removed from health insurance policies even if they are not living together,
  • The spouse cannot be removed from automobile insurance policies if the couple is not living together, and
  • Beneficiaries named in retirement accounts cannot be changed.

Status of minor children

  • Children cannot be removed from health, dental and vision insurance policies even if they are not living with the policyholder, and
  • The movement of children to other states or countries may be restricted.

Some “movement” of assets may be allowed while waiting for the final decree of divorce.  These include:

  • Payment of attorneys retained for the divorce action,
  • Spending marital assets in, “the usual course of business”, subject to court determination as to the validity of such spending, and
  • Certain changes to wills and similar documents.

It should be noted that the divorce courts in the United States have wide discretion in which items can be included in a Temporary Restraining Order. The details involved can be confusing and perplexing especially in cases where many items are subject to the Temporary Restraining Order. Always keep in mind that Temporary Restraining Orders are legal protections for the protection of both parties, and violating the terms by either can lead to serious legal consequences therefore it is always advisable to seek an attorney’s advice in this area.

How to File a Temporary Restraining Order

Steps to Follow on How to File a Temporary Restraining Order

Each state in the United States has different rules, deadlines, and documentation for filing a Temporary Restraining Order.  But there are some generalized steps at the minimum that need to be done even in states where an automatic Temporary Restraining Order applies at the beginning of the divorce filing process.  These steps assume that a qualified attorney in family law will be available in more complex cases.

  1. Before filing for a Temporary Restraining Order, assemble the necessary supporting documents such as, wills, agreements, worksheets, titles to real and personal property, and any evidence supporting ownership and access to, safe deposit boxes, investment accounts, bank accounts, insurance policies. If minor children are involved, the Temporary Restraining Order should also include which actions cannot be carried out by each party, especially regarding movement of children across state lines, and amendment of passports, and other government documents.
  2. Determine what items that you want to be included in the Temporary Restraining Order.
  3. Execute a formal restraining order. Each state will have a different form and documentation requirements.  Generally, the Temporary Restraining Order will be filed together with the divorce complaint.  The order will contain all the transactions and actions that CANNOT be made before the final divorce decree is granted.  Note that the order can be changed subsequent to initial filing with consent by both parties.
  4. Have an officer of the court serve the Temporary Restraining Order if separate from the original divorce action. The officer will usually be a member of the law enforcement authorities, such as a sheriff or a marshal.  Keep a copy of the notice of service for future reference.
  5. In some states, a Temporary Restraining Order is in force for a limited time. Any extension will need to be filed with a separate document. Some jurisdictions will require a formal hearing to enforce an extension of a Temporary Restraining Order.
  6. When one of the parties would like to contest a Temporary Restraining Order, they must file a formal request with the court. A hearing will then take place to hear both sides of the divorce action.
  7. After the Temporary Restraining Order is served and a court hearing is mandated, all supporting documentation should be brought to the court and presented as exhibits.

 

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7 Things to Consider Before Filing a Divorce

Posted on June 6, 2015 in Family Law

Marrying couples are always stepping into marriage enthusiastically with the hopes that their marriage will be for eternity. No couple gets married thinking that along the way, the marriage will get so frustrating and the only option is to seek a divorce. Sadly, it happens.

Couples facing dissolution usually attempt to find ways to salvage their marriage. Some couples find the essence of their union and manage to helm the rough patches while others, unfortunately, fail to render everything. It is during these times when the couples ask counsel and experts for the best advice. The decisions accompanying divorce are always critical and the repercussions can last a lifetime, but it bears stressing that the problems and frustrations do not always warrant divorce. Divorce is a personal decision and only you can know what’s right for you.

At the very least, the last-ditch effort lies in you. Before actually turning into divorce as the penultimate solution, remember that there are 7 things to consider before filing for divorce:

1. Do I still have feelings for my spouse?
First thing’s first. It’s better to determine if the feelings that initially created the relationship still exist. Did the problems and petty quarrels make you feel hopeless? If it’s only rust needing a little shrugging, then you should work on it before deciding to divorce. Always remember that even a used, worn-out candle can still be lit as long as the wick remains.
2. Did I exert all the efforts to save my marriage?
Seeing a couple expert therapist might do you favors. If it does not work, try a marriage counselor. If you think the current therapy is not of any help but the marriage is still redeemable, keep seeking for ways before calling it quits. In the end, the best counsel cannot dictate the outcome of your marriage nor can he repair whatever is wrong with your relationship. Always remember what we said before: Divorce is a personal decision and only you can know what’s right for you. Thus, it requires your earnest effort and commitment.
3. Have I looked and accepted my contributions in our difficulties?
One of the reasons why marriages fail is because dysfunctional couples tend to hurl the blame on each other. No one would want to admit his faults and it ends up aggravating the situation. One thing that the couples have to admit is that one way or another, they contributed to the problems. As stated in an article on divorce in the Huffington Post, taking responsibility for your part isn’t the same thing as being fully at fault. No matter what has happened, you’re not responsible for your partner’s behaviors and responses. You are, however, responsible for yours. So admitting your mistakes will make it easier for both of you to work them out together.

Filing a Divorce4. Are stresses and standards in the way of our marriage?
Married life is accompanied by stressors so strong that the effectiveness of the union may decrease dramatically. Financial burdens, hectic schedules or poor communication may seem so big to resolve. These also contribute to the personal standards the spouses aim to achieve, such as material leisure they rather want, not need. It was said that big problems are often too big to handle alone particularly when there is too much emotional involvement, so before choosing divorce, consider talking the practical and emotional issues together.
5. Are we sexually satisfied?
Sometimes, couples tend to concentrate on the inexistent problems only to realize that the only thing impairing their connection is sex. Lust is an inevitable component of marriage. The good thing about it is that it can go along with love so that an effective sexual counseling may dig into the problem.
6. Is there someone else outside of our marriage contributing to this?
Common notion states that husbands tend to cheat on spouses, but that does not imply that wives do not do so either. If third-parties contribute to your downward spiral, it’s better to assess if the serious still outweighs the fling.
7. Did we consider the impact of this on the children?
Lastly and perhaps more importantly, is there a consideration given to the children as to their future? The dissolution of the marriage may relieve both the spouses but it is only the beginning of the emotional challenge the kids would have to go through. In the end, the children are the ones to feel the repercussions, so it is likely to put their interests on top of the reconsiderations.

These are only 7 things to consider before filing for divorce, yet there are still so many important reasons to take into consideration before putting an end to your once preciously cherished marriage. Divorce is not always the way. Keep looking on the positive side.

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Parental Rights in Joint Custody

Posted on May 21, 2015 in Family Law

Marriages are expected to last forever, yet these expectations often end up being sour. Husbands and wives develop resentments and distance that compel them to seek for divorce. During this fateful stage, the ones mostly receiving the negative repercussions are the children, especially when the battle for custody ensues.

It is sad to contemplate that the parents who are expected to be one in supporting and raising their child are the ones who will eventually separate and contend against the other for custody. This period in the divorce process is perhaps the most traumatic for the children. Legislators in many states are aware of this, which is why they came up with ways to convenience the separating parents and children through the different parental rights in joint custody without sacrificing parental authority.

The most important settlement during a divorce process is the custody of the child or the children. Children having to deal with a broken family, separating parents may asseverate joint custody rights for the sole benefit of the children.

There are two ways joint custody can be referred to; one is joint legal custody and the other is joint physical custody. Joint legal custody exists when parents decide to share the decisions regarding the child’s shelter, schooling, religion, medical needs and other basic necessities while joint physical custody refers to the type where the child lives with each parent simultaneously for almost the same amount of time. By any means, joint custody still results in both parents having to share the upbringing of the child as well as the responsibility of rearing him or her, thus co-parents can still play the vital role in raising the child post-marriage. But what are the different parental rights in joint custody?

Parental Rights in Joint Custody
One of these rights is the visitation rights, or the right of the parents to see their children personally. Specifically, the joint custody visitation right is the most illustrative term. In this visitation right, there will be a schedule to be followed by the parents who have been awarded joint custody. This gives the parents a chance to maintain a relationship with their child without taking more time than the other. It is up to them to create and decide for their own visitation schedule. They will need to create a schedule that allows their child to spend time with both the parents separately which should be balanced to avoid straining or frazzling the child. There are many pre-arranged schedules that would work well with joint custody visitation rights and the co-parents may base their own timetable.

The parents may also seek legal advice for proper scheduling. Family law experts can make their own recommendations to your already created custody schedule. Experts provide unbiased concepts to protect both the rights of the co-parents. Family law experts have many custody schedules to base from. The parents may see the recommendations to have either benefits or drawbacks and they can decide which to add or omit. It’s important for the parents to find the one that works best for their own joint custody visitation rights.

Visitation rights can range from a total prohibition of one parent to have contact with the child to situations where the parents may equally share the child’s time. Specifically, two other visitations rights are categorized in family law as the No Visitation and the Supervised Visitation rights.

No Visitation is obviously the right of the other parent to bar contact between the child and the other parent due to various reasons. Common reasons could be that one parent may impose grave danger upon the child or that one parent is incapable of visiting his child due to insanity or disease. The visitation rights are altogether stripped off the other parent.

Supervised Visitation, on the other hand, is the moderated version of the right. When the visitation is deemed possible to cause harm to the child, supervision by the other parent or a guardian may be ordered. In some instances, supervised visitations may be needed in events when a child and the parent haven’t seen each other for quite some time and there is a need for a step-by-step acquaintance. Depending upon the risk factors, this supervision may be provided by the parent or a professional agency.

When a marriage fails and the children end up choosing both parents, it’s beneficial to know these parental rights in joint custody. The essence of joint custody is for co-parents to acquire visitation rights and continue exhibiting their love for the child when the warmth and comfort of a complete family are no longer possible.

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Rose Rix Law Firm Offers Injury Services

Posted on May 15, 2015 in Legal Services Personal Injury Case Rose Rix Firm

Rose Rix

Physical injury? No worries! Our team can cater to all kinds of legal services for you. It is defined by statute as “physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.”

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Which States are Common Law States?

Posted on February 27, 2015 in Family Law

A common law marriage in common law states means that a couple can be recognized as husband and wife and entered into by couples by choice and/or by circumstance. Common law marriages avoid many of the documentary requirements of a traditional statutory marriage. In this type of marriage, no license is obtained and no wedding ceremonies are held.

Certain basic laws applicable to statutory marriages also apply to common law marriages, of which capacity to enter into a marriage contract is the most important. Aside from these requirements, the couple must publicly hold themselves as husband and wife including cohabitation in some cases. The laws of the states that allow common marriage differ on the length of time that a couple must have cohabitated, even if cohabitation by itself does not create a common law marriage.

common law

In the eyes of the law, a common law marriage is treated the same way as statutory messages especially with regard to tax laws that regard couples in a common marriage in the same manner as couples in a statutory marriage.

While a couple can enter into a common-law marriage, they cannot agree to a “common law divorce”.

In alphabetical order, the following are the common law states in the United States. Also, only three jurisdictions recognize same-sex marriages as common marriage: Iowa, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. A couple married under the common law in one state may move to another state that does recognize common law marriage and still be recognized as common law husband and wife.

• Alabama. In this state, the parties must have the mental capacity to enter into a marriage, have public recognition of their marriage, and the marriage must be consummated. Both parties must be at least 16 with parental consent.
• Colorado. The requirements in this state are, the cohabitation must prove the relationship, the couple must hold themselves out to be husband and wife, and consent to be husband and wife.
• District of Columbia. The requirements for establishing a common law marriage are, the parties’ explicit intent to be married, that the two persons are legally free to marry, and if the couple is known in the community to be husband and wife. D.C. recognizes same-sex marriages.
• Iowa. The state requires three elements to have a valid common law marriage: The couples’ intent and agreement to be married, continuous cohabitation, and their public declarations holding out to the public that they are husband and wife. Iowa recognizes same-sex marriages.
• Kansas. In Kansas, the requirements are, the man and woman must be competent to enter into a marriage. They must have a present marriage arrangement, and are cohabitating. The couple must also represent themselves to the public that they are married.
• New Hampshire. This state recognizes common law marriages only upon the death of one of the spouses. In other words, common law marriages are only recognized posthumously and are for inheritance purposes only. Also, the couple should have been generally reputed as husband and wife for at least three years before the death of one of the spouses.
• Montana. The parties must be competent to enter into a marriage, mutually consent to a common law marriage, cohabitate, and have a reputation of being married.
• Oklahoma. The requirements are the parties must be competent, must agree to enter into a marriage relationship, cohabitate, and must have a reputation of being married.
• Pennsylvania. Recognizes common law marriages made before 2005. A common law marriage was established by the exchanging of words between a man and a woman indicating their intent to be married at present.
• Rhode Island. In Rhode Island, a common law marriage exists if a man and woman seriously intended to be married and engage in conduct that leads to a reasonable belief by others in the community that they are married. Rhode Island recognizes same-sex marriages.
• South Carolina. A man and woman must have a present intent to enter into a marriage contract, and must have others believe that they are married.
• Texas. Also called, “informal marriage” in the state. The couple must sign a form provided by the county clerk, must agree to be married, cohabitate, and represent to the public that they are married.
• Utah. A court or administrative order must establish that the parties are of legal age and capable of giving consent. The parties must also have the capacity, have cohabited, and have the reputation that they are husband and wife.

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