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Two people who live together in an intimate relationship are unmarried cohabitants, absent a ceremony and a marriage certificate.  They may have children and make purchases with separate or joint money, but because common law marriage in Pennsylvania was abolished in 2005, they will never be considered married. 

If a couple had created a common-law marriage before 2005, then that couple is still considered married, but remember gay marriage wasn’t legal in 2005. Now that same-sex marriage is lawful,  there exists the possibility that a same-sex couple who lived under the conditions of a common-law marriage before 2005 may be able to receive retroactive status. 

Two people marry for a variety of reasons, many noble and some otherwise, probably with a long-range view of togetherness — maybe that even includes children.  However, a significant number of marriages will sadly not endure and end in divorce.  As I always tell people, “No one knows what goes on between two people.”  For some, divorce is a tragic reminder of a perceived failure and for others, it is a relief and opportunity to start over — a fresh start.  We live in a world that prioritizes married couples, that is opposite-sex married couples, but the cultural and legal landscape has changed and members of the LGBTQ-plus community are now free to marry and, therefore, free to divorce.

As summer approaches, our thoughts drift to family reunions and vacations. Summer is a great time for a family vacation as children are out of school.

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