Colorado recognizes common law marriages. Common law marriages are marriages created without a formal wedding ceremony but where a couple holds themselves out as being married. Technically speaking, the Supreme Court of Colorado has held that
“A common law marriage is established by the mutual consent or agreement of the parties to be husband and wife, followed by a mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship.”
In essence this means that a couple must
Although common law marriage requires cohabitation (living together), Colorado does not specify a particular period of time that a couple must cohabitate. A common misconception is that Colorado requires a five- or seven-year period of cohabitation; that is simply not true.
In Colorado, both parties must hold themselves out as being married; so it is not enough if just one of the parties tells others that the couple is married. The marriage-like relationship involves more than just dating, having sexual relations, sleeping over at another’s residence, cohabiting, having children together, financially supporting the other, or third parties simply assuming that a marriage between the couple exists.
Contact The Drexler Law Group to discuss whether your case involves a common law marriage, or whether we need to vigorously defend against the existence of a common law marriage allegation. Serious obligations can arise out of a common law marriage including the division of property, assets and debts and a potential award of spousal maintenance or alimony.
Currently, Colorado law does not recognize a common-law marriage between same-sex couples. Still, important matters of property division between a couple can be addressed in the context of a civil legal proceedings such as a partition action in which the parties seek intervention by the court to divide a jointly titled asset.
For example, a same-sex couple may purchase a home together. A partition action may be filed to determine the relative legal interest each party has in the property. A court can also force the sale of the joint asset so as to remove one or both parties. However, a court cannot order a third party creditor (i.e. the mortgage holder or loan servicer) to relieve a party from the contractual obligations of the mortgage or similar home loan and title documentation. Consult an experience family law attorney or real estate attorney to determine the best course of action in dividing property between an unmarried same-sex couple.
Just because you may be common law married doesn’t mean you can common law divorce!
The importance of a common law marriage is that the marriage can be created but it cannot be dissolved even if both parties agree to simply separate.
It’s an odd concept to be sure: you need to formally dissolve an informal marriage. This fact has perplexed many litigants especially those who re-marry. Potentially, and legally, the existence of a common law marriage that is not formally dissolved would render a subsequent marriage (formal or informal) void. This fact may have serious ramifications not only in a family law context but will also affect probate and estate matters. For instance, if your subsequent marriage is void, you second spouse may not be entitled to the inheritance of survivor benefits available to surviving spouses.
The attorneys at The Drexler Law Group have experience in handling dissolutions of common law marriages including first identifying whether a relationship should be considered a common law marriage and concluding with the division of marital asset, property and debt, as well as custody or parenting orders for any child born or adopted of the common law relationship. We also have experience in handling cases involving same-sex marriages, civil unions and same-sex parenting or custody matters.
We appreciate that you are looking for dedicated and zealous representation and someone to fight for your rights. When you call The Drexler Law Group, that's exactly what you'll get. The attorneys and staff at The Drexler Law Group are friendly, experienced and professional. We are client-centered, results-focused and loyal advocates for our clients.
Don't hesitate to contact us immediately to schedule a consultation. You can call us at (719) 471-8000, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.