Common Law Marriage
Rhode Island recognizes common-law marriage. A common-law marriage is a legally recognized marriage without the legal formalities, such as a license or official ceremony. Rather, common-law marriages are created by the conduct of the parties.
To have a valid common-law marriage, a couple must intend to be married, must live together for a significant time period, and must hold themselves out to the world as a married couple. Common-law marriages are treated like regular marriages, which means that you need to get a divorce if you want to sever the common-law marriage.
Same Sex Marriage and Civil Unions
On August 1, 2013, same-sex marriage became legal in Rhode Island. Also, as of August 1, 2013, Rhode Island will no longer allow couples to enter into a civil union. If you are already in a civil union, you should get married and have your civil union merged. To do so, apply for a marriage license and complete an “Application To Merge Rhode Island Civil Union Into Marriage” form at the same city or town hall where you will apply for the marriage license.