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Definition of COMMON-LAW MARRIAGE
: a marriage recognized in some jurisdictions and based on the parties' agreement to consider themselves married and sometimes also on their cohabitation
: the cohabitation of a couple even when it does not constitute a legal marriage
First Known Use of COMMON-LAW MARRIAGE
Marriage that is without a civil or religious ceremony and is based on the parties' agreement to consider themselves married and usually also on their cohabitation for a period of time. Most jurisdictions no longer allow this type of marriage to be formed, though they may recognize such marriages formed before a certain date or formed in a jurisdiction that permits such marriages.