Oprah Winfrey is not a common law wife: How to figure out if you are

The main reason that Oprah Winfrey is not Stedman Graham’s common law wife is that they live in Chicago, Illinois, and the State of Illinois does not recognize common law marriages as arising in that state. Nor, for that matter, do any of the other states (or countries) where Oprah and Stedman own houses such as Hawaii, California and South Africa, and where else? I’m sure there are a few more I am not privy to.
Common law marriages are basically marriages where there is no marriage ceremony, and no marriage certificate, just living together and declaring yourselves married.
There are only nine US states and the District of Columbia, as far as I can tell, that allow common law marriages (but not common law divorces). They are as follows: Alabama, Colorado, Texas, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Iowa, South Carolina, Utah and the District of Columbia. (New York abolished common law marriages in the 1930’s but someone who is still alive today who was married by common law back then, would be legally recognized as being a common law spouse.)
The simple fact of “cohabitating” does not by itself create a common law marriage, however. Thus, Brad and Angelina are probably not common law spouses. It’s a whole complexity of issues that have to be met. For example, both parties must have held themselves out to the public as being each other’s spouse. So the wife would refer to the husband as “my husband” and the husband would refer to the wife as “my wife,” in public. And there are a few other requirements…
Other countries in the world such as Israel, Canada, Australia and England recognize some form of common law marriage.
The same rights conferred to a marriage that is solemnized by the state, would be also applicable to a valid “common law marriage.” And, if a person has a common law marriage in a state that allows such marriages, if they moved to another state that does not allow those marriages, the marriage would still be valid – it would be given “full faith and credit.”
As stated earlier, however, there is no such thing as a COMMON LAW DIVORCE.
So. Where do you live? Are you in a state that allows common law marriages? How long have you been in this common law married state? Have both you and your spouse agreed to be common law spouses? Have you told people in your community that you are married?….
You know what? Why not just go get the marriage certificate? I mean, why take the chance that this thing will be declared null and void? If he wants to get married anyway, do it the right way. Not that common law marriages are the “wrong” way. But you also run the risk that somehow, even if you are in one of those ten states, that somehow, the marriage is void. Why chance it?