Common Law Marriage

Colorado is one of a few states where a couple can enter into a common law marriage, or a marriage without a license or a formal ceremony.

What is a Common Law Marriage?

“A common law marriage is established by the mutual consent or agreement of the parties to be husband and wife, followed by a mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship.” People v. Lucero, 747 P.2d 660, 663 (Colo. 1987).

A common law marriage in Colorado is another way of being marriage. An alternative to obtaining a marriage license and having a ceremony. At the end of the day, a couple in a common law marriage is “just as married” as any other married couple, but may encounter issues actually proving their marriage exists.

The only legislative requirements for a common law marriage are:

  • Each party to the marriage must be eighteen or older &
  • The marriage is not prohibited by C.R.S. 14-2-110 (which prescribes bigamy & incest)

But that’s not it – Colorado courts have more than a century of precedent setting forth the legal requirements.

Why Would I Want to Prove I’m Common Law Married?

By filing for divorce and proving you are common law married to your significant other, it allows the courts to divide any marital property and debts as part of your divorce case. Marital property and debts are anything that was acquired during the marriage. For example, if you and your significant other purchased a house during the marriage, the court can divide the house as part of your divorce; determining who keeps the house, how to split any equity in the home, etc.

Not sure if you are common law married? Contact us today to set up a consultation with an experienced attorney to find out.

Per C.R.S. 14-2-109.5

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