Does common law spouse have rights to a life insurance policy?

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020Fact Checked

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I have been common law for 10 years and my spouse never changed his life insurance policy,he still had only his 2 children as beneficeries on it.They are adults now.Can I legally get a portion of the life insurance policy ?”

Asked July 17, 2018

1 Answer


Believe it or not, this is actually a very tricky question. Generally, the policy holder (i.e. the one paying the monthly premiums) does have permission to add anyone they choose as a benefactor whether it is a significant other, spouse, children or even a business partner. However, things can get a little complicated once three policy holders are all signed onto the same contract. It’s not that the insurance companies make moral judgments as to who the policyholders are. It is simply that the money gets paid out automatically once another beneficiary is identified.

The recognition of common law marriage in California is actually quite shaky. Consent or cohabitation alone does not signify legal recognition. However, the state of California may actually recognize it if you move there and common law marriage is recognized in your previous state or are from a foreign country that recognizes common law marriage.

Answered July 18, 2018 by larson82

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