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Colorado recognizes common-law marriage and divorce

February 7, 2021 | Firm News

Perhaps the idea of a formal marriage does not appeal to you or your significant other for a variety of reasons. After all, divorces can be messy and painful. You may assume that if you do not get legally married, you can keep whatever is yours if you and your partner break up.

If you live in Colorado and meet certain conditions, however, you may be in a common-law marriage already. Common law marriages are subject to divorce and property division, just like legally binding marriages.

What is a common-law marriage?

According to FindLaw, a partnership must meet the following criteria in order to be a common-law marriage:

  • You and your partner live together
  • Neither of you is legally (or common law) married to anyone else
  • You both present yourselves as a married couple to others
  • You share bank accounts, tax returns, etc.

How does a common-law marriage affect a breakup?

If you and your partner are in a common-law marriage, you will probably be subject to a divorce as well.

Common law marriages protect people who live together as if they are married when someone passes away suddenly. Without recognizing common-law marriages, your partner would not be able to receive assets if you were to pass away. However, this also means that your assets will be subject to division if you and your partner decide to call it quits.

The exception to this rule is if your partner is not interested in dividing assets between the two of you. This may or may not be likely depending on your situation.

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