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Contrary to popular belief, a common law marriage is not created when two people simply live together for a certain number of years. Common law relationships need to pass a strict legal definition before they are considered legitimate. In order to achieve validity, the couple must adhere to all of the following: They must live together for a significant period of time (although this is not clearly defined); present themselves as a married couple by using the same last name; refer to one another as husband or wife; file a joint tax return; and have a mutual consent and intent to be married. Further, there is no such thing as a common law divorce. Once parties are committed, regardless of the manner in which their marriage is contracted, the marriage cannot be terminated except by legal court dissolution (divorce) or death.