Common Law Marriage In Colorado
In Colorado, a common law marriage is one in which the couple lives together and holds themselves out to friends, family and the community as married, but never go through a formal ceremony or get a marriage license. In Colorado, a common law marriage requires that you live together, both have the legal right to marry, have the intention to marry and also, present yourself to the community as a married couple.
The State of Colorado fully recognizes a common law marriage as having the same rights, responsibilities, privileges, and legal effect as a statutory marriage.
Determining whether a common law marriage exists requires a fact-intensive inquiry by the courts. Often, the courts will look at the following factors to determine the existence of a common-law marriage:
- Length of time of the relationship
- Use of the term husband/wife/partner/etc.
- Presence/absence of joint tax returns, mutual estate planning documents, and statements/affidavits affirming the existence of a marriage
- Testimony from witnesses regarding whether or not the couple has held themselves out as married
- Ownership of joint property
In the case of same-sex relationships, the determination of whether a common-law marriage exists can be particularly complex. While there is no appellate-level law in Colorado providing that same-sex couples can be engaged in a common-law marriage, several courts have applied the same factors and inquiry to determine whether a same-sex common-law marriage exists.