What Is Considered Common Law Marriage in Colorado?
In the state of Colorado, common law marriage is recognized as a legal and valid union between two individuals, even if they have not obtained a marriage license or had a formal wedding ceremony. This type of marriage is often referred to as a “marriage by habit and repute,” and it holds the same legal status as a traditional marriage.
To establish a common law marriage in Colorado, certain criteria must be met. First and foremost, both parties must have the intent to be married. This means that they must consider themselves to be married and present themselves as such to their friends, family, and the community. Additionally, they must live together as a couple for a significant period of time, typically referred to as a “cohabitation period.” While there is no specific length of time required by law, courts generally look for evidence of a substantial and ongoing relationship.
It is important to note that common law marriage is not automatic, and simply living together for a certain period of time does not automatically create a common law marriage. The couple must meet all the necessary criteria and present evidence of their relationship if the validity of the marriage is ever questioned.
Now, let’s explore some frequently asked questions about common law marriage in Colorado:
1. How long do you have to live together to be considered common law married in Colorado?
There is no specific duration required by law. Courts will look for evidence of a substantial and ongoing relationship to determine if a common law marriage exists.
2. Can same-sex couples be in a common law marriage in Colorado?
Yes, same-sex couples can establish a common law marriage in Colorado, just like opposite-sex couples. The state recognizes and respects the rights of all couples, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
3. Do we need to file any paperwork to establish a common law marriage in Colorado?
No, there is no paperwork or formal registration required to establish a common law marriage in Colorado. It is based on the couple’s intent and their actions as a married couple.
4. Do we have the same legal rights and responsibilities as a traditionally married couple?
Yes, once a common law marriage is established, the couple has the same legal rights and responsibilities as a traditionally married couple. This includes issues such as property division, spousal support, and inheritance rights.
5. How can we prove our common law marriage if it is ever questioned?
If the validity of your common law marriage is ever questioned, it is essential to provide evidence of your relationship. This can include joint bank accounts, shared bills, joint tax returns, and testimonies from family and friends who can verify the nature of your relationship.
6. Can we dissolve a common law marriage in the same way as a traditional marriage?
Yes, to dissolve a common law marriage, you will need to go through the same legal process as a traditional marriage. This involves filing for divorce and addressing issues such as property division, child custody, and support.
7. Can we convert our common law marriage into a formal marriage?
Yes, if you have a valid common law marriage, you can choose to formalize your union by obtaining a marriage license and having a wedding ceremony. This is not necessary for the legal recognition of your marriage but can provide additional peace of mind and benefits.
In conclusion, common law marriage in Colorado is a legally recognized union between two individuals who meet specific criteria, including intent, cohabitation, and presenting themselves as a married couple. While it does not require a marriage license or formal ceremony, it holds the same legal rights and responsibilities as a traditional marriage. It is important to understand the requirements and be prepared to provide evidence of your relationship if ever questioned.