Types of Marriages
a. Civil marriage: This is the most common type of marriage and is easily recognized. In most cases, the government of the state or province where you are getting married will issue a license. The ceremony has to be performed by an official or authorized person. After the marriage ceremony, you apply to have the marriage recorded in official government records. You will receive an original certificate with the details of the marriage. A certified copy of this document is good for a VAWA application.
b. Common-law marriage: A common law marriage is a legally recognized marriage between two people without a marriage license or ceremony. It is the type of arrangement where two people capable of marrying, live together as husband and wife and pretend to be a married couple. If a common law marriage is legally recognized in your U.S. state or foreign country, this is good enough for a VAWA application. Evidence of you cohabitating with your common-law spouse and a copy of the relevant law may help you prove your case.
c. Religious marriage: A wedding that follows all the statutory requirements and a religious official performs the ceremony rather than a civil official. This type of marriage is also recognized for VAWA purposes, as long as it is legal in the state or country where it happened.