Denver Common Law Marriage Attorneys
Helping All Kinds of Couples Achieve Legal Recognition of Their Relationship
Colorado is one of few states in the United States that continues to recognize common law marriages, also known as non-ceremonial or informal marriages. A common law marriage is established by mutual consent of the parties followed by an open assumption of a marital relationship. It does not apply to couples who are merely cohabitating, but who also share many of their assets and treat each other as spouses.
If you have questions or concerns about a common law marriage in Colorado, Frost & Beck, PC can help. Our team of Denver common law marriage lawyers understand the ins and outs of this unusual but valid type of union and are more than happy to help couples determine whether common law is right for them and how to go about making it official. We welcome partners in non-traditional relationships, same-sex couples, non-binary individuals, and others to reach out—if you believe common law marriage is right for you, we are happy to explore every avenue on your behalf no matter how complicated your case may be.
Common Law Marriage Is Recognized by Non-Common Law States
If you were common law married in Denver, anywhere in Colorado, or in a state that recognizes common law marriages, and now are living in a state that does not permit common law marriages, the court will nonetheless recognize the common law marriage if it was lawfully contracted in a jurisdiction that permits it.
Requirements of a Common Law Marriage
A common law marriage is an alternative to a traditional, ceremonial marriage that doesn’t require a couple to obtain a marriage license and host a ceremony. However, even though a common law marriage is just as valid as “regular” marriage, some couples may encounter issues proving their marriage exists.
According to C.R.S. 14-2-109.5, the only legislative requirements for a common law marriage are that:
- Both members of the couple must be at least 18 or older, and
- The marriage is not prohibited by C.R.S. 14-2-110, which forbids bigamy and incest.
How will you know if you are common law married? The court looks to many factors of you and your partner’s relationship to make a determination of common law marriage.
Some of the factors that a court may consider include but are not necessarily dispositive of a common law marriage are cohabitation and consumption of a marital relationship, as well as:
- Joint bank accounts
- Joint filing of tax returns
- Verbally affirming to friends and neighbors the other party is a spouse
- Joint credit accounts
- The man's surname by children born to the parties
- The woman's use of the man's surname
- Purchase and joint ownership of property
- Wedding rings worn by one or both parties
- Written acknowledgment of marriage on a 401(k) account or insurance policy
- A written agreement of marriage between the parties
As of 2021, the Colorado Supreme Court revised the common law definition in our state to make it more modern as well as more inclusive for same-sex couples and gender neutral individuals. The Courts will now consider each common law marriage case individually and assess whether a couple is eligible based on their unique circumstances. For example, a woman no longer must use her male partner’s last name to boost a heterosexual couple’s chances of acquiring a common law marriage by the state. This news means that no one should feel as though they need to shy away from the possibility of a common law marriage!
Common Law Divorce?
There is no such thing as a common law divorce. If you have a common law marriage, only the court can grant the divorce. Thus, if you want to split with your significant other and you believe you might be common law married, you should consult with an attorney.
Contact Our Denver & Boulder Lawyers for Common Law Marriage Issues
If you and your long-term partner have been living together for some time without getting married, you may have some questions about the legal implications of your relationship and if "common law marriage" applies to or is right for you. We are happy to offer the honest and informative legal counsel that will help you understand common law marriage and whether it is a good fit for both you and your partner.
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