Common Law Marriage
Colorado is one of a few states remaining which still allows parties to enter into a common law marriage, or a marriage without formal ceremonies.
"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." People v. Lucero, 747 P.2d 660 (Colo. 1987).
This is the classic definition of a common law marriage, but as relationships end, there are often disputes as to whether the couple had a common law marriage. There is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes a Colorado common law marriage, nor even one law which directly covers it. C.R.S. 14-2-104(3), part of the law which establishes the requirements for a Colorado marriage, simply states: "Nothing in this section shall be deemed to repeal or render invalid any otherwise valid common law marriage between one man and one woman."
Ending a Common Law Marriage in Colorado
Since there's no such thing as a Colorado common law divorce, if the couple breaks up, they also enjoy all of the rights, privileges, and headaches of a formal Colorado divorce or legal separation. Trying to remarry without a formal dissolution would be bigamy, and renders the second marriage void!
www.state.co.us. Information paper on Colorado common law marriages by the Colorado General Assembly's Office of Legislative Legal Services.
www.cdphe.state.co.us. The Colorado Department of Public Health Vital Records Section information page on solemnizing marriages and common law marriages in Colorado.
coloradoattorneygeneral.gov. Link to sample State of Colorado Affidavit of Common Law Marriage on the Attorney General's web site. Note that an affidavit is not required, and this is not an "official" form, but simply a sample people can use if they like.
Phone: 719-328-1616 Fax: 719-630-8495