Colorado Common Law Marriage

Protect Yourself In the Event of a Colorado Common Law “Divorce”

Believe it or not, the concept of “Common Law Marriage” is still alive and kicking in the State of Colorado! The fact is, many people are tripped up when the ramifications of this legal relic rears its ugly head. This is especially true when two people are getting a Colorado common law divorce or legal separation. Here are the “Top 10 Myths About Colorado Common Law Marriage:” (If you don’t see your question answered here ask us for free)

Myth 1: If I am married by common law in Colorado, it won’t affect my legal rights after a break-up, right?

Wrong. You could be subjected to the same claims for property division or maintenance (alimony), as you would face in a traditional divorce.

Myth 2: I can’t be common law married in Colorado unless I have been cohabitating for 10 years, right?

Wrong. There is no set time period under Colorado law to be declared common law married.

Myth 3: It doesn’t matter if my friends and family think I am married, so long as I know the truth, right?

Wrong. In a legal dispute, count on your “ex” to claim otherwise and get all of his/her buddies to support that claim, especially if there is money involved. The key is whether you “hold yourself out” as married, and that vague term can get pretty expensive to legally prove, one way or the other.

Myth 4: If I have children with my significant other, I am automatically common law married in Colorado, right?

Wrong. Not necessarily. The key is whether you hold yourself out as “husband” and “wife”.

Myth 5: I told my insurance carrier that I am married so my boyfriend/girlfriend can get benefits. This isolated action can’t hurt me, right?

Wrong. Any public declarations you make about your marital status can come back and hurt you later especially if you need to go through a Colorado common law “”divorce.”

Myth 6: So what if I am considered to be in a Colorado common law marriage, I can simply “annul” it, right?

Wrong. If you are held to be common law married, you will have to go through a full-blown dissolution of marriage proceeding.

Myth 7: I can’t be common law married in Colorado unless I have plans to go through with the ceremony, right?

Wrong. You may be considered to be in a Colorado common law marriage even if you and your significant other have never even considered “taking the plunge” publicly.

Myth 8: So what if I filed a joint tax return, that is a federal issue, and it can’t be used against me in a state court, right?

Wrong. It can and almost definitely will be used against you by your ex’s lawyer.

Myth 9: As long as my relationship with my ex-boyfriend/girlfriend stays strong, common law marriage doesn’t matter to me, right?

Wrong. If you die unexpectedly, your significant other may be entitled to inherit your assets, potentially depriving your biological heirs of a lot of money.

Myth 10: Okay, so maybe I have a common law situation. I shouldn’t have to worry about this unless my relationship is about to end, right?

Wrong. You should be as informed as possible about your rights, as there are almost always steps you can take to protect yourself. Be informed, be cautious, and be proactive!

If you would like to request a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys you can do that here.

About Rich Harris

Rich Harris “Our philosophy is to limit litigation and protect your children. My passion is to make your Colorado family law matter our priority.” Originally from New York, I have made Colorado my home for over 20 years. I received my B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California and my law degree from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. I started Harris Family Law to provide superior support in the practice of divorce and child custody law. My goal is to protect individuals and children with compassionate and informed legal representation. I have been recognized by my peers in the legal community on numerous occasions, and frequently lecture on family law issues. View all posts by Rich Harris →