Living Together in NC

Living together is a common occurrence. Hundreds of thousands of unmarried couples cohabit in North Carolina. However, NC does not recognize common law marriage, where a man and woman are considered married after living together for a certain number of years. Therefore, a couple who live together are not considered “married” and will not qualify for the same rights and benefits as a married couple without a valid marriage ceremony.

Living together without being married was illegal in North Carolina for over 200 years, but the law was deemed unconstitutional by a NC judge in 2006.

To be legally married, you and your partner must apply for a marriage license in person up to 60 days before the ceremony.  To apply, you will need to send in some documents including your birth certificate and tax information.  You will also need a form of government identification and pay a fee of $60.  You must also provide the date of any previous divorces.  A marriage license will be sent to you in the mail.  Then, you must have a justice of the peace or religious clergyman to sign the document.  Another option is to have a civil ceremony conducted by a magistrate at the court house. 

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