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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Swan

Colorado Common Law Marriage

How much do you know about Common Law Marriage?

Many residents of Colorado live a different lifestyle from other states so recent transplants may be shocked at how easy it is to create a Common Law Marriage. The typical picture of marriage is a ceremony and a certificate, but we do things a little differently here.

First, let's point out what a Common Law Marriage means: Common-law marriage is an informal marriage that is recognized based upon the parties living together and holding themselves out as a married couple. Unlike a civil or religious marriage, there is no requirement that there be a ceremony or that a marriage certificate be formally recorded in Colorado.

Common Law Marriage has been legally bounding in Colorado for many years now, but changes have been happening based on more recent court cases.

Now, what has changed in 2021? The changes this year come from the Colorado Supreme Court Case of Hogsett. This case has caused courts to use every aspect of a couple's relationship and their express agreement to marry as evidence for Common Law. This is different because before the courts compared finances, living situation, public knowledge, and a few items from the earlier Supreme Court case of Lucero in 1987. The changes are to be inclusive to couple's who may not always have their relationship public knowledge for their own reasons. This, of course can result in even more Common Law Marriages happening in Colorado. How could this be a bad thing?

Common Law Marriage is great, but what a lot of people do not know is that there is no common Law Divorce. This could be an issue for people who break their Common Law marriage and have connections they do not address such as Estate Plans. When a Common Law Marriage is broken, the partners should be sure to make it a fair division and clear that the marriage has ended so their former partner no longer has claim to their estate.

In general Common Law Marriage in Colorado is easy to get and can be very impactful for couples who need to get their partner on insurance or want to create a life together. Common Law Marriage allows for many untraditional ways to be involved legally even if a couple has already been involved in every other aspect of their lives.

If you have any questions about how to incorporate your new Common Law spouse into an estate plan, or how to remove a former partner email or call us!

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