Workers’ Compensation - Marriage - Common Law - Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

Summary of Pennsylvania Decisions

Costello v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Kinsley Construction, Inc.) No. 831 C.D. 2006 (February 13, 2007)

Holding: A common law marriage entered into after September 17, 2003, but before January 1, 2005, is valid, thereby entitling the widow to death benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. This decision is the “sequel” to the Court’s September 1, 2003 decision in PNC Bank v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Stamos), 831 A.2d 1269 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2003), in which the Court abolished common law marriage. The legislature then amended the Pennsylvania MarriageLaw to provide that no common law marriage contracted after January 1, 2005 would be valid and that the law did not render invalid any common law marriage entered into on or before January 1, 2005.