Putative Spouse Law and Legal Definition

A putative spouse is person who has cohabited with another to whom he is not legally married in the good faith belief that he was married to that person. It is a marriage entered into in good faith, but invalid due to a legal flaw, such as the existence of a prior marriage. However, knowledge of the fact that he/she is not legally married terminates this status and prevents acquisition of further rights. A putative spouse may acquire the rights conferred upon a legal spouse, including the right to alimony following termination of his/her status, whether or not the marriage is prohibited or declared invalid. If there is a legal spouse or other putative spouses, rights acquired by a putative spouse do not supersede the rights of the legal spouse or those acquired by other putative spouses, but the court may apportion property, maintenance, and support rights among the claimants as appropriate in the circumstances and in the interests of justice.