In Colorado, it is possible to get married without ever going to a Courthouse or having a formal ceremony. Unlike some other states, Colorado allows for common law marriage. To get married by common law in Colorado, the couple must meet all of the following requirements:
- Be living together
- Mutually agree to be married
- Hold each other out to the public as being married
Cohabitation alone is not enough to establish a common law marriage, no matter how long the parties have been living together. That means, even if two people have been living together for 20 years, they are not assumed to be common law married if the other requirements are not met.
Because the agreement between the couple does not need to be formal or in writing, it can be difficult to identify exactly when the marriage began if the couple got married by common law. If you are considering getting married by common law, writing down when the marriage started could be helpful for future reference.
There are also many ways a couple can hold each other out to the public as being married. One of the most common is for the couple to call each other “husband” or “wife”. While there is no exact thing a couple must do to be seen as holding themselves out as married, common actions include having joint bank accounts, filing taxes jointly, and making large purchases together. Because individual actions alone may not necessarily mean two people are holding themselves out as married, when determining whether there is a common law marriage, one must look at all the factors and not just one individual action.
Lastly, it is important to understand that getting married by common law has the same effect as getting married at the Courthouse or by some other formal ceremony. Spouses in common law marriages have the same rights and duties as any other married couple. Additionally, to end a common law marriage, the couple must go through the same Court process to formally dissolve the marriage and get divorced.
If you have questions about a common law marriage or are looking to end yours affordably, contact me today. I offer affordable, flat-fee rates for common law marriage issues in Colorado.
This website and blog include information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.
Lauren Lester is a Denver affordable family law attorney and estate planning attorney licensed in Colorado.