While only five states in the United States recognize common law marriages, Colorado is one of them. If you are a resident of Colorado and currently navigating the law around marriage, divorce and annulment, it is important that you take the time to understand how common law marriage comes about, and how it works.

Common law marriage is quite an old-fashioned law that was put into place in 1877 to address the legal status of couples who are living together yet not married. While it was designed for a different time, it can still be considered relevant today in the state of Colorado, because it means that non-married couples who meet the common law marriage criteria can still benefit from some of the legal implications of being married. However, not just any couple can benefit from common law marriage implications. They must satisfy certain conditions first.

What criteria needs to be fulfilled in order to validate a common law marriage in the state of Colorado?

First of all, both individuals in the relationship must be over the age of 18 in Colorado in order for a common law marriage to be in place. They must also be living together in a mutual agreement, living together as a married couple in a romantic relationship, rather than simply just as roommates, for example. They must both also publicly and openly express their intention to live as a married couple.

General common law marriage legislation also mentions that both members of the couple must be of sound mind. Proving that you do live as a married couple could include things such as showing that you have joint bank accounts and that you refer to each other as “spouse” in public or formal relations. When these conditions are present, the state of Colorado will fully recognize common law marriage.

What are the implications of breaking up after a common law marriage?

When a common law marriage is assumed, it is just as difficult to break as any other type of marriage in states that recognize it. If you are breaking up with a partner in Colorado and you believe that common law marriage will affect your situation, it is important to learn more about the law.