A "common law marriage" is one in which the parties may hold themselves out as a husband and wife, and under certain circumstances, be deemed married without a marriage license or ceremony.
Massachusetts does not allow the creation of a “common law” marriage, a relationship in which a couple lives together but have not participated in a lawful ceremony. Unlike some other states, in Massachusetts a couple cannot acquire marital rights and responsibilities by living together for a particular period of time. You do not need legal action to end such a relationship, if it was created in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts does recognize as valid, common law marriages created in other
states if the legal requirements of those states have been met. As a result,
legal action is needed to dissolve legal “common law” marriages performed in
other states and foreign countries in compliance with their licensing and
ceremonial regulations. The courts are available for determining the rights of
parties now living in Massachusetts.
as a couple lives together as husband and wife, the question of validity of
their marriage is unlikely to arise. However, for purposes of inheritance or the
benefits of pension plans or social security, a valid marriage is required.