Telephone: (303) 804-9898 Home Site Map Contact Location & Directions Newsletter Blog About Us Download Forms Ask Question
gif Colorado Divorce Attorney Denver
Denver Divorce and Family Law Solutions  
How to Save Money, Time, & Relationships Video
Free Guide & Written Plan for Road Ahead  
gif Colorado Divorce & Family Law Book   Free Book
Free Written Plan

Common Law Marriage in Colorado


Summary:  Don’t rely on the concept of a common law marriage to establish inheritance rights or marital rights. Proving the existence of a common law marriage is often difficult and costly. A lot of costly litigation occurs to prove or disprove the existence of a common law marriage.


Colorado is one of a few states which recognizes common law marriage.

Common law marriage is defined as a marriage which exists even though there is no marriage license, no marriage ceremony, and no registration.  The parties show their agreement and intent to be married by their conduct.

The general requirements of a common law marriage are:

1. An agreement with mutual consent and assent to be married, known by others;

2. Living together as husband and wife, with joint accounts, joint tax returns, joint ownership of property, use of employer-provided medical insurance to insure each other, use of the husband’s last name by the wife, use of the husband’s last name by any children; and

3. Such other attendant circumstances as may be necessary to show a marriage.

Common Law Marriage and Health Insurance

One of the often-used facts is whether one of the parties is carrying health insurance on the other.  The courts seem to say that this fact alone is not enough to establish a common law marriage.  Even though there is an affidavit of common law marriage which states that the couple are common law married.

Importance of Common Law Marriage

Whether or not a marriage exists is important if the parties separate or if one of them dies.  If they are not married, then they cannot be divorced, they cannot inherit any property from each other, and they cannot carry employer-provided health insurance on each other.If the couple splits up or one of them dies, then proving the existence of a common law marriage is costly.  Often a judge makes the determination after a costly court trial. I recommend that people not rely on common law marriage.  Because the uncertainty of whether or not a common law marriage exists leads to court litigation, don’t do it. Instead evidence your marriage with a marriage license and marriage ceremony.

GIF The material on this web site is for informational purposes only. This law firm practices only in Colorado. An attorney-client relationship is established only when an agreement as to the scope of representation and fees has been signed and a retainer paid. Colorado law may consider these web site materials to be attorney advertising. GIF
Our Related Sites
gif gif
  Visit these sites to get more family law information.  
  gif gif