Common or case law refers to written rules and regulations based on court-established legal precedents. It influences unusual case decision-making processes where the results are not dependent on written laws or existing statutes (“Common law vs. statutory law,” n.d.). These laws fall into two categories: one where the present rules and regulations are interpreted and new distinctions and boundaries determined by judges, and the other where passed judgments become new laws. On the other hand, statutory or specifically written law is established and passed by the legislative branch, such as state and federal governments, and is accepted by the community (“Common law vs. statutory law,” n.d.). The new rules and regulations are issued to satisfy the citizens’ needs, formalize existing laws, and solve problems.
Alabama does not recognize common law because the legislature passed a bill to ban it officially. For example, Crowley (2020) explains that common-law marriages are forbidden from 2016, which took effect on January 1, 2017. Therefore, the bill stated that the state would recognize only formal weddings performed by the civil officiant or religious leaders. The state gives individuals who conduct these festivities legal authority.
Common law weddings are not acknowledged in Massachusetts unless another state considers the couple as married (“Common law marriage and divorce in Massachusetts,” 2020). Therefore, obtaining a common law marriage in a different state is the only way people can get one in Massachusetts. The case law determination for different cases involves the analysis of research, previous relevant case whereabouts, statements, and identifying the most applicable law, and it was used in this case (“Common law marriage and divorce in Massachusetts,” 2020). This prompted the Massachusetts state’s Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) to rule in favor of the union in Goodridge on May 17, 2004. Therefore, the legalization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts was created as a result of common law.
Crowley, J. (2020). Does Alabama recognize common law marriage? Survive Divorce. Web.
Common-law marriage and divorce in Massachusetts. (2020). Web.
Common law vs. statutory law. (n.d.). Web.