Question 1: My partner and I have been living together for years. Does that mean we are a common-law couple?
No. Living together for a certain number of years will never automatically make you a common-law married couple. Common-law marriage has a very specific definition in the law. In order to become a married couple through common-law, you must live in one of the 9 states that allows for this form of marriage, be at least 18 years old, agree with one another to become married, and hold yourselves out to the public as husband and wife.
Question 2: What happens if we are a common-law married couple?
If you are married through common-law that means you are a married couple. Your marriage is just as legally valid as those couples who were married by a judge or in religious ceremony. Both spouses have the right to inherit from each other when the other dies, as well have all the other rights and obligations that married couples have.
Question 3: We were married in common-law but we since got a common-law divorce. Does that mean I can no longer inherit?
No. There is no such thing as a common-law divorce. If you are married through common-law you must get an annulment or a divorce to end your marriage. Otherwise you are still a married couple and both of you will be able to inherit from one another if the other dies.