Common Law Marriage and the Uniform and General Reputation

May 14, 2020

Volk v. Vieccchi, 2020 UT App 77 (Filed May 14, 2020). 

To establish a common law marriage, you need to establish several factors including a uniform and general reputation of being a married couple. A uniform and general reputation is just that--uniform and general--not a perfect or total reputation. Not every person needs to know a couple is married, but rather a uniform and general reputation. This is different than the defense against the establishment of a common law marriage trying to show that the couple has a predominately partial or divided. If most people believe a couple is married and then generally and predominately hold themselves out as married, but there are a few individuals that "know" they are not married, the few do not undue the general reputation of the many. “¶20 But in crafting section 30-1-4.5, our legislature chose to base this requirement on the couple’s acquisition of a uniform and general reputation for being husband and wife, not on the awareness by a few of the legal status of a couple’s union… ¶21 The plain meaning of the term “reputation” indicates that it does not rise and fall on particular persons’ knowledge. Rather, a reputation is a collective perception or estimation by the public or a community.”

Click HERE to review the entire case.

Volk v. Vieccchi, 2020 UT App 77 (Filed May 14, 2020).