My question involves marriage law for the State of: Montana/Illinois.
For nearly four years during the span of 1992-1996, I lived with my girlfriend and we had a child together, I was age 17-21, she was 16-20. During which time we did live in Montana which does recognize common law marriage.
My girlfriend did not change her name to mine, we never said nor claimed to be publicly married, we didn't wear rings etc. She used her birth name. We never declared we were going to get married, we didn't refer to each other as husband or wife.
However, one year, we did file taxes jointly, which maybe is a whole other issue.
We broke up in Jan of 1996, I moved to Illinois, my ex-girlfriend moved in with another man in Montana right after we broke up and proceeded to have 3 children with him and still living together in 2009.
I got legally married in a church,with a license, 1997 in Illinois in front of 100 people, (still am,happily) my wife did change her name, everyone knows were are married. We have 2 children together. Filed joint tax returns since being married.
I never really have thought about that old relationship and any possible ramifications of being young and dumb until recently I became aware of common law marriages.
I'm scared to even ask this question, but am I really legally married to my wife of 12 years?