Chapter 207 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 6 the following section:-
Section 6A. (a) The commonwealth shall recognize and accept what is known as common law marriage. Common law marriage means persons cohabiting and acknowledging each other as husband and wife, and generally reputed as such, for a period of 2 years, and until 1 of them dies. Such persons shall thereafter be deemed to have been legally married as a common law marriage. The purpose of this acknowledgement as a common law marriage is that both parties, with the intent, will consummate this relationship eventually within the marriage laws of the commonwealth.
(b) To be determined a common law marriage:
(i) both persons shall be at least 18 years of age;
(ii) both persons shall reside in the commonwealth, with proof of residency requirements;
(iii) both persons shall hold themselves out to the community as a married couple. For example, this includes using the same last name, referring to each other as" my husband" or" my wife"; and
(iv) both parties shall acknowledge a common law marriage with a verbal, written or prenuptial agreement to live together with the intent of a marriage ceremony.
(c) Veterans with disabilities and all residents with disabilities, who in agreement under the common law marriage law, shall be recognized as long term partners prior to the date of enactment of this section and eventually marry to be recognized. Both marriages shall be calculated together as to the full term of their marriage.
(d) Both partners shall comply with all court rulings that apply to common law marriage in the commonwealth, and in the case of the death of one partner, where there is no will, the other will be recognized in all claims to inherit.
(e) If both parties in a common law marriage separate, they shall file with the probate and family court an action pursuant to chapter 208 to terminate this arrangement or marriage. The parties shall be considered married under said chapter 208 for the purposes of such action.
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