Can You Be Common Law Married In Colorado?

Can you be common law married in Colorado? Yes, you can be common law married in Colorado. It’s actually easier to be common law married in Colorado than it is in a lot of other states. We have a very simple law regarding it.

married couple holding a paper heart

In order to be common law married you have to live together, hold yourself as married to the community, and you have to have an intention to be married.

As you can see, number three is subjective. An intention to be married, that’s in your head. The way the courts look at it is they look for evidence of your intent to be married. Let’s say you live together and you know that’s true. You may even have people that think you’re married because you live together and you certainly look like you’re married and act like you’re married, but is there any other evidence that shows that intent to be married? I’ll give you a few examples that actually does show your intent to be married.

How To Prove That A Common Law Marriage Exists?

There are a variety of ways a couple can prove that they have a common law marriage:

  • If you file your taxes as married or share joint finances such as bank accounts and credit cards, the Federal Government can classify you as married.
  • You have signed an Affidavit of Common Law Marriage in order to add your partner onto your health insurance.
  • You have had a ceremony. You never obtained a marriage license but you had a ceremony and there’s evidence of a ceremony.
  • Presenting yourselves as married is other evidence.

If you would like to determine if your relationship is common law marriage, feel free to give me a call. We can talk about the specifics around your case and whether I think that a court would find that  you are  common law married.

Why Is It Important To Determine If You Are In A Common Law Marriage?

Why does it make a difference? If you decide to separate or get a divorce, the status of your relationship can determine a few important factors. A common law marriage is legally seen as equal to a traditional marriage in the state of Colorado. Both forms of marriage have the same privileges and legal obligations.

Let’s just say you have a child. If you are common law married and you get a divorce, you split up assets and debts. If you’re not common law married, then you determine issues about your children through an allocation of parental responsibilities proceeding. For people that have a child who aren’t married, there is no division of assets and debts because you’re not married. It’s a very different case.

If you were receiving alimony or maintenance from a previous marriage and enter into common law marriage, that obligation ends. If you are providing maintenance and your ex-spouse enters into a common law marriage, it can be difficult to provide evidence so that you can  stop paying maintenance

If you’re common law married that might result in a very long-term marriage. It may make a big difference in terms of maintenance as well, so there’s reasons to know whether you’re common law married or not if  you are splitting up with your partner.

How To Prove If You Are Not In A Common Law Marriage

As long as you never claim to be married and avoid the list below you will not be considered a common law marriage.

  • Do not file as married in tax returns
  • Do not sign an Affidavit to obtain health insurance
  • Do not share a last name
  • Do not engage in a wedding ceremony

Also consider entering into a cohabitation agreement with your partner.  A cohabitation agreement outlines how you will handle your finances and divide things up if you part ways.  A cohabitation agreement also will clearly state that you are not common law married.

Feel free to give me a call at (303) 329-3802 and we can talk about common law marriage in Colorado and see whether it’s relevant in your case.