If you have lost your common-law spouse due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you have the same right to wrongful death compensation as you would if you were in a formal marriage. Kansas is one of a few states that still allows common-law marriages to be formed. But, you will have to prove that your common-law marriage met the requirements of Kansas law, or the laws in the state where your marriage was formed.
Kansas Common-Law Marriage
Common-law marriage does not happen magically, on its own, simply because you and your partner live together for a certain amount of time or have a child together. In fact, there is no minimum amount of time that you must live together to establish a common-law marriage. You must meet the following criteria:
- You were both legally able to marry. You were old enough, mentally and physically able to enter a marriage, not married to someone else, and not closely related.
- Both of you considered yourselves married.
- You held yourselves out publicly as a married couple.
Examples of holding yourselves out as married include:
- Referring to each other as husband, wife, or spouse in conversations with others
- Filing joint tax returns
- Signing documents, such as lease agreements or loan applications, as spouses
- Holding joint accounts
Kansas Wrongful Death Damages
In Kansas, there is no cap on economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, but there is a limit on how much you can recover in non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- The deceased’s lost wages that would have been contributed to you
- Value of lost services, such as child care and home maintenance
- Loss of marital care, advice, and protection
- Medical expenses from the time of injury until death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Property damage
Non-economic damages include:
- Your suffering, mental anguish, and grief
- Loss of society, comfort, and companionship
To learn more about wrongful death and your legal rights as a common-law spouse, please browse this directory to locate experienced Kansas wrongful death attorney.