Common Law Marriage

Common Law Marriage 2017-12-08T19:43:45+00:00

In general, a common law marriage is created when a couple is at least 18 years old, the couple mutually agree they are married, and they present themselves socially and legally as married. In other words, hold themselves out to others as married.  While there can be a common law marriage, there is no such thing as a “Common Law Divorce”. If you are indeed common law married, you are married and need to go through the same Dissolution of Marriage proceeding to become divorced as anyone who was officially married in a marriage ceremony.  The challenge for most people comes in proving the elements of a common law marriage and in determining if a Common law marriage is appropriate.  Seeking legal counsel is critical.

Proving a Common Law Marriage

There is a popular misunderstanding that Common law marriage in Colorado can be established merely because two people have lived together for some amount of time. This is not true.  While residing or living together can be a factor in proving there is a marriage, this factor by itself, is not enough.  The truth is that living together does not automatically make you common law married. You still need to meet all the factors and these factors must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence that a marriage existed.

Usually a court will require documents to establish the existence of a common law marriage; documents which help meet the preponderance of the evidence standard.  Some documents might be helpful are: taxes filed as married; applications for health or other insurance stating you are married and identifying your partner as a spouse; holding title in an asset as married such as a car or home or bank account; generally having both parties on any document which describes the other as a spouse, or one party as married.  These are just some examples.  Other helpful evidence may be provided by people who knew the couple and could testify that they referred to