September 19, 2019

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Common Law Marriage and Wrongful Death Claims in Florida

The loss of your life partner is devastating, whether you were formally married or not. When it is an unnecessary death caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, the grief is compounded by anger and a need for some kind of justice. No amount of money can make it right, but the compensation you can receive through a wrongful death lawsuit can serve both as a measure of justice and to alleviate the financial uncertainty you face. Still, you may be wondering what legal rights you actually have if you were in a common-law marriage.

Common-Law Marriage in Florida

Common-law marriage is very confusing. Most people believe that living together for a certain amount of time, say seven years, establishes a common-law marriage. But, it doesn’t. In Florida, there is no such thing as common-law marriage, unless it was formed before January 2, 1968, or formed in another state that recognizes common-law marriages.

If you moved to Florida from somewhere else, as so many people do, your common-law marriage had to be established according to the laws in which it was formed and you have to be able to prove it.

If you can prove that you had a valid common-law marriage, you are considered the surviving spouse under Florida wrongful death law.

Are You in The Will?

Simply being named in the will, even if you are referred to as a spouse, does not mean you will be considered a spouse under Florida law. But, it can mean that you may still benefit from a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida, certain types of wrongful death compensation are paid to the estate of the deceased. This includes expected future income that would have been left to the estate.

An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you determine your status as a surviving spouse and help you pursue your legal options. Please, do not wait until it is too late. Review this directory today to talk to an experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer.

About Sandra Dalton

With a background as a paralegal, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights, Sandra Dalton launched her freelance writing career in 2000 with a weekly column on Freedom for Suite 101 and pro bono projects for individuals and organizations supporting causes close to her heart. One of her first projects was for the Police Compliant Center writing about police misconduct. Sandra’s legal writing quickly expanded to include personal injury, animal welfare, criminal defense, disability discrimination, family law and much more.

Sandra’s other writing around the web includes a broad range of topics such as food, pet health, feral cats, music and film. Sandra is also a fine art photographer, helps with animal rescue and TNR in her community, and volunteers as a DJ at her local radio station.