Common Law Marriage in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law does not recognize common law marriage. However, it does provide significant rights and protections for unmarried couples who live together. In Watts v. Watts, the Wisconsin Supreme Court allowed the plaintiff to lay claim to some of the property that she and her former boyfriend had accumulated during their relationship. Because of Watts, Wisconsin law recognizes the rights and obligations that accrue between unmarried cohabitating partners during their relationship, and allows for one or both partners to bring an action under contract law theories to recover property from a former partner. For example, if one partner moves into a house owned by the other, and contributes financially to the household expenses (mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance expenses, etc.), the partner who does not have title to the home may still have equitable ownership rights in the property. Given that, the non-title holding partner may seek to recover his or her contributions to the home from the title holding partner in the event of a break-up.

If you’d like to discuss your specific non-marital situation, call our office or send us an inquiry through our website.

Photos on this page are copyrighted by Natural Intuition Photography, Madison, WI, All Rights Reserved, 2020.