When a couple presents themselves as husband and wife and cohabitates for a substantial period of time they can be deemed married without the issuance of a marriage license or a ceremony. Usually the couple dwells together for at least a year and are in an agreement to become married at a later date. Every state does not recognize or permit common law marriages. However, in most cases if a couple becomes “married” by common law in another state sister states will recognize it as a marital situation.
New Jersey is a common law state. In the United States there are two basic legal systems which govern marital property: common law and community property. The community property system is founded on Spanish law and is usually practiced in the western and south western portions of the United States. Alaska offers couples the right to opt in for community property. Common law, on the other hand has its foundation in English law and it is what governs most of the states including New Jersey.