Common Law Marriage

Wonder if you qualify for common law marriage? Do you need a divorce from your common law spouse? Colorado is one of a handful of states that still recognizes common law marriage, but to qualify as being common law married, you and your spouse have to meet certain conditions. The attorneys at Knies, Helland & McPherson are well-versed in litigating common law marriage issues, and can explain the law and advise you appropriately.

Contact the law office of Knies, Helland & McPherson in Colorado Springs, CO today to schedule a consultation to discuss your common law marriage issue: 719-635-8499

What Is Common Law Marriage?

A common law marriage, a form of family law, can occur when a couple lives together and hold themselves out as being married to family, friends, and the general public.

In Colorado, there are three general requirements for a common law marriage to be valid. These include:

  • Both parties were legally able to marry
  • Both parties live together (cohabitate) as husband and wife at all times
  • Both parties hold themselves out as spouses

There are no time limits on how long you have to live together to be considered common law married.

Why Does Common Law Marriage Exist?

Common law marriages began for several reasons. The first reason was that some people did not have access to a minister or priest to perform the wedding ceremony. Others could not afford the official license in the past. A third reason was when pioneers first began seeking homesteads in the west, official means to register for marriage weren’t available. Today, many people just assume the role of marriage and live their lives in that manner.

How Can You Prove a Common Law Marriage?

In most cases, to prove that you actively participate in a common law marriage, you will need affidavits from people who are close to you and consider you married. You may also use legal documents that you and your spouse have signed as spouses. Be sure to speak with a family law firm, like Knies, Helland & McPherson, which specializes in family law. An experienced lawyer will know the questions to ask and the evidence needed to prove a common law marriage. Likewise, should you be asked questions by an attorney (and perhaps you’re trying to disprove a common law marriage), do not answer without legal representation at your side.

Can you formalize a Common Law Marriage?

Although it is not required, couples who are common law married can file their marriage with the state so that it is officially recognized. The State of Colorado will allow a married couple to sign an Affidavit of Marriage in front of a Notary Public and file it with the County Clerk’s and Recorder’s Office.

When Do I Need a Lawyer for Common Law Marriage?

There are three main reasons that you will need to seek the services of the Law Firm of Knies, Helland & McPherson concerning your common law marriage in Colorado:

  1. Affidavit of Marriage: You can have a legal Affidavit of Marriage prepared and witnessed in our law firm so that your marriage can be recorded with the County Clerk’s Office.
  2. Estate Planning: If you are in a common law marriage it is very important that you protect your spouse with proper estate planning. Without the right preparations, your spouse may be at financial risk.
  3. Divorce: Even though you have entered into a common law marriage, the State of Colorado requires you to enter into an official divorce if you plan to end your relationship.

If you are facing a divorce for a common law marriage it is very important that you seek quality legal assistance. Common law marriages have special needs when it comes to divorce and to protect your rights. Knies, Helland & McPherson is a law firm that understands those needs. The attorneys have also litigated issues dealing with complex issues related to common law marriage, such as same-sex common law marriage that predates the legalization of same-sex marriage. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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At Knies, Helland & McPherson, we partner with you to come up with a customized solution that meets your individual needs and goals.