Since 1877, Colorado has recognized common law marriage as a legal and binding arrangement. In fact, Colorado is only one of 12 states that recognize this arrangement. Common law marriage becomes established when both parties agree to be spouses. There is no license, documentation or ceremony needed to be legal. However, there are some legal ramifications to a common law marriage that you might not be aware of.
What Is The Time Frame For Common Law Marriage In Colorado?
There is no set time frame for a Colorado common law marriage. Instead, the law determines that this arrangement is deemed legal when several other factors are met.
What Is Considered Married By Common Law?
To engage in a common law marriage, both parties must be free to enter the union. This means that both spouses may not currently be in another marriage. Additionally, both parties need to be 18 years old. However, if they are 16 to 18, they can still participate in a common law marriage with consent from a guardian or parent.
How Do You Prove Common Law In Colorado?
To prove a common law marriage in Colorado, you will need some of the following evidence.
- Parties agree that they are husband and wife
- Joint checking or savings account
- Property ownership held by both parties
- Filing joint income tax returns
- Mutual financial support
- Registration as a married couple on leases, applications, registers, contracts, etc.
- Women using the man’s last name
There isn’t one factor that is considered more important than another. However, considering a person is a spouse to gain an economic advantage, such as a joint gym membership or health insurance, is considered fraudulent and will not provide the evidence needed to claim a common law marriage in Colorado.
Will I Need A Divorce If I’m Considered Married By Common Law?
Because there isn’t a lot of documentation needed to prove a common-law marriage, one spouse can file a claim even if both parties didn’t agree. By having joint checking accounts and property in both names, it’s possible that you are put in a legally-binding agreement without even knowing it.
However, if you have agreed to the common law marriage, you are legally married regardless of how the partnership was created. You have the same obligations and privileges as any other marriage in Colorado. To end this partnership, you will also need a legal separation or formal divorce order. You cannot end this relationship simply by choosing to leave the partner.
In fact, if you attempt to get remarried later, without first dissolving the first common law marriage, you would be found guilty of bigamy. This condition will render your second marriage void. Don’t put yourself in this position; seek professional Colorado marriage and divorce guidance to protect yourself.
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