My common law spouse died without a will. Do I have any rights under New Mexico law?

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2009

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My common law spouse died without a will. Do I have any rights under New Mexico law?

My common law husband and I cared for his aging mother, full time, for over a year. He died last week and his sister, who lives in another state and who has had no part of care for her mother is attempting to take everything we have as a couple. Do I have any legal options?

Asked on March 25, 2009 under Estate Planning, New Mexico


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

First, our condolences. 

Second, although most living together arrangements are not common law marriages, depending on the state, your travel and other circumstances, some are. If it turns out yours was a common law marriage it would be just as valid as an "official" marriage by judge or clergy. There is all sorts of information about common law marriage on at http;//

Even if there was no common law marriage, you are entitled to take your own property, property given to you during his lifetime, and you may be entitled to certain claims for services rendered to his mother. You may also have other claims for support and property, depending on what was priomised to you and your ability to prove that.

As this is so fact dependent, we suggest you consult face to face with a New Mexico lawyer about your particular circumstances. Our affiliate is a great place to find good lawyers.

A good lawyer may may be able to negotiate an attractive settlement for you even if there is no marriage as such.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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