Decisions about the validity of a particular joint marriage often avoid indicating a particular marriage date when this is not strictly necessary, since the common law partnership contract is generally entered into without a formal event or marriage of common law spouses that recognizes such a date. Even if the partners begin a relationship in a state where the common law marriage is not recognized, but if they settle in a state where it is recognized, their common law marriage is normally recognized. A common law agreement is recommended and is necessary for your rights to be protected and for you to have access to the court system in the event of separation. For example, common law couples may enter into a contract similar to a marriage contract that would include rights and obligations such as financial assistance (similar to a spousal pension) pending separation. For this law to be applicable, the minimum period during which the couple lived together without interruption had to exceed 20 days. . . .