A handful of states in the U.S. still recognize common law marriage, and Colorado is among them. If you and your partner may be in a Colorado common law marriage, then are some specific things you should know regarding how this relationship may impact you in the future, particularly if it ends.
In this three-part blog series, we will explain the facts behind some of the most commonly held misconceptions regarding Colorado common law marriage. If you need advice about or help ending your traditional or common law marriage, don’t hesitate to contact the Littleton divorce lawyers at Bahr and Kreidle. Our attorneys have the experience, skills, knowledge and commitment that you can rely on to help you bring your divorce to a favorable resolution.
Myth 1 – I’m not in a Colorado common law marriage because I have not been living with my partner for more than 5 or 10 years.
Fact – There aren’t cohabitation requirements for a Colorado common law marriage, so this assumption is entirely wrong. The fact of the matter is that, to prove a Colorado common law marriage exists, what has to be established is that a couple has held themselves out publicly as being marriage. This can mean that partners in a Colorado common law marriage:
- Openly referred to each other as husband and wife
- Have each other on their insurance policies (named as beneficiaries)
- Have filed taxes together
- Are specifically not involved in a marriage that is considered to be prohibited by Colorado law (because, in particular, the marriage involves bigamy, incest and/or underage individuals who did not have the proper consent to marry).
Myth 2 – There’s no way to prove whether or not I’m in a Colorado common law marriage.
Fact – False! While you may think that proving a Colorado common law marriage comes down to your word versus your partner’s, the fact of the matter is that there can be all sorts of documentation that may be used to prove this legal relationship. In particular, documents that can help establish that a Colorado common law marriage exists can include (but are not exclusively limited to):
- Insurance policy documents that show one partner naming the other as a beneficiary
- Tax documents that show the couple filed joint tax returns
- Court documents showing that a female partner changed her last name to take on the male partner’s last name.
Here, we also want to point out that less formal or unofficial documents may be used to establish a Colorado common law marriage. For instance, if a couple sends out a Christmas card with wishes from “their family to yours,” this could be used to prove that a Colorado common law marriage existed.
For the facts behind more myths about Colorado common law marriage, look for the second and third installments of this blog that will be published soon!
Littleton, Colorado Divorce Lawyers at Bahr and Kreidle
Are you preparing to end a common law or traditional marriage? If so, you can turn to the Littleton divorce attorneys at Bahr and Kreidle for experienced help and the best possible representation. Since 1983, our lawyers have been aggressively advocating our clients’ rights to help them successfully resolve their divorce cases.
To learn more about how we can help you, schedule a free, no obligations initial consultation with us. To set up a meeting, call us at (303) 794-7422 or email us using the form on this page.
From our law offices in Littleton, we represent clients throughout Colorado, including in the Denver Metro Area, Arapahoe County, Adams County, Jefferson County and the cities of Lakewood, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Castle Rock, Westminster, Centennial and Aurora.