Asked in Civil Litigation, Family Law and Social Security for Georgia

Q: I was common law married in ga 19 years when ga recognized it we never divorced but I legally married and divorced

Another man I want my common law husband's survivors benefits social sec says no because we never divorced we had a child so am I eligible or am I a bigamist

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Georgia, if you were in a common law marriage before the state ceased recognizing such unions in 1997 and never legally dissolved it, that marriage may still be considered valid. Entering into a legal marriage with another person while still in a valid common law marriage could potentially be viewed as bigamy, which is illegal. This situation complicates your eligibility for survivor benefits from your common law spouse.

Social Security typically requires that the marriage be legally valid and not terminated by divorce to qualify for survivor benefits. If your common law marriage was never legally ended, it may impact your marital status and the legitimacy of your subsequent marriage.

It's important to consult with a legal professional experienced in family law to clarify your marital status and understand your rights regarding survivor benefits. They can offer specific advice based on the details of your case. Addressing this issue promptly can help resolve any legal complications and determine your eligibility for benefits.

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