• Márquez Law

Accidentally Married? Common Law Marriage in Colorado

Updated: Jan 20

Colorado is among the dozen or so states that recognize common law marriage. Establishing common law marriage can be complicated since there are many specifics to consider, every situation is different, and the marriage may be contested by the other party.


There are a number of factors that contribute to being considered common law married in Colorado which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Cohabitation

  • Filing a joint tax return

  • Using the same last name

  • Mutual Agreement to be married

  • Both parties are at least 18 years old

  • The parties cannot already be married

  • Being covered on your partner’s health insurance plan

  • Referring to each other as “Husband” or “Wife” in public, and/or otherwise holding each other out in public as a married couple

According to several prominent Colorado judges, the single most important factor in determining a common law marriage is holding each other out in public as husband or wife.


Contrary to popular belief, there is no time requirement with regard to cohabitation for establishing a common law marriage in Colorado, however, a court may consider this as a factor.


Typically a couple’s common law status is raised when one party files for a Legal Separation or Divorce. Although there is no set standard that a court has to follow, a judge must decide at the onset of the proceedings that a marriage does or does not exist prior to proceeding with the dissolution.


If a judge determines a marriage does exist, the legal separation or divorce will proceed the same way as parties who married traditionally. Alternatively, if a judge determines the marriage does not exist, the court will dismiss the case and any separation of property would need to occur in civil courts. If there are children involved, an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities case would need to be filed.


The divorce attorneys at Márquez Law are experienced with proving and defending against the existence of a common law marriage. Schedule your free consultation today to see how we can help you with your case.


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Denver, CO 80246

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