COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Supreme Court has abolished common law marriages in the state.
The ruling Wednesday doesn’t affect any current marriages where couples who live together for a long time can be considered married without a license. But it does require a license for all future legal marriages.
Justice Kaye Hearn wrote in her opinion shifting societal norms leave people unconcerned when couples live together and whether a couple is in a common law marriage can differ between the two people involved.
Hearn says South Carolina needs to join the overwhelming number of states abolishing the practice.
Bills to outlaw common law marriage have been frequently introduced in the South Carolina Legislature in the past 20 years, but failed to pass.
The ruling came in a Charleston County case.