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Denver Common Law Marriage Lawyers

Some couples in Colorado choose to forego customary marriage formalities and opt for a common law marriage. There are many benefits to this alternative, but there are also some factors that spouses in a common law marriage should be aware of. If you and your spouse decide to form a common law marriage and then later decide to separate, you are required to undergo the same divorce proceedings as a traditionally married couple. A Denver divorce attorney who understands common law marriage laws could help you understand rights and responsibilities.

When it comes to common law marriage and divorce in Colorado, couples often have questions. Some of the most frequent questions we answer include:

Is common law marriage legal in Colorado?

Yes. Colorado is one of very few states that recognizes common law marriage.

How long do you have to live together to be considered common law marriage in Colorado?

Colorado law does not set a minimum amount of time for couples to live together to establish a common law marriage. If two individuals aged 18 or older live together with the intent to be married, that is usually sufficient to create a common law marriage. However, courts may consider additional criteria in determining the validity of a common law marriage.

What establishes a common law marriage in Colorado?

In Colorado, a common law marriage is created when both parties mutually agree to be openly considered as husband and wife.

Factors that may establish the validity of a common law marriage include:

  • Joint filing on tax returns
  • Cohabitation
  • Wife taking surname of husband
  • Joint checking or savings accounts, etc.

The court may also consider how long the couple has been together as well as their behavior and actions during the time they were in a relationship. It is important to be aware that a common law marriage is not established simply by the couple living together.

Do you have to get a divorce if you are common law married in Colorado?

Couples that have established a common law marriage will need to get a divorce in order to dissolve the marriage.

How do you obtain a common law divorce in Colorado?

Colorado does not have specific laws for common law divorce, and therefore, couples typically go through the same process as a traditional divorce. When a common law spouse files for divorce, the court must first decide whether there was a valid common law marriage. If the common law marriage is valid, the couple will go through the divorce process, addressing certain topics including property division, child custody, visitation. If the couple cannot come to an agreement about each of these issues, the court may need to intervene.

Am I eligible for annulment?

Divorce is defined as the final ending or dissolving of a marriage as ordered by the court. If you do not want to file for a divorce, but rather want to prove that the marriage was not valid — i.e., obtain an annulment — you must demonstrate that one of the following situations applies:

  • One spouse was not able to give consent due to mental incapacity or the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • One spouse did not have the capacity to consummate the marriage but the other spouse was unaware of this at the time of the marriage
  • One spouse was under the age of consent and did not receive parental permission to become married
  • The marriage was entered into as a dare or joke

You can also request a legal separation in lieu of a divorce. If you and your spouse become legally separated, you will technically still be married but you are permitted to live separately. Matters of child custody and support still need to be resolved if you pursue a legal separation, just as in a divorce case.

Is a common law spouse entitled to anything?

Typically, a divorce will involve the division of property. Which spouse gets what depends on the circumstances. Marital assets, or assets acquired after the establishment of the marriage, are generally divided “equitably” between both parties. The spouses may come to an agreement together, or a court may decide how best to divide property and assets.

How long will my divorce take?

Depending on whether you file a contested or uncontested divorce, your case could take anywhere from six months to one year or longer. Our legal team however, can help you obtain temporary orders that protect your interests while details of the divorce are being resolved. (I would state that the soonest you can be divorced in Colorado is 92 days; however, depending on whether you file …..)

Common Law Marriage and Divorce Attorneys in Denver

With our extensive experience and vast knowledge of Colorado family law, the team at Jones Law Firm, PC knows how to devise the right strategy to help you achieve your objectives. Whether you are seeking an uncontested divorce or need aggressive representation to fight for your interests in a high-conflict situation, it’s important to work with attorneys who are dedicated to serving your needs. Contact Jones Law Firm, PC today to learn how we can assist with property division, alimony, child support and custody, and all other issues that may arise from your common law marriage case.

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quote iconApril is very knowledgeable of the law and will not let you down.

I cannot be more happy with the April Jones Law Firm! I hired her in 2012 for disputes over child support and other items, we had to go to court 3 times on separate matters and every time we were successful. April is very knowledgeable of the law and will not let you down. If I ever need a family law attorney I will call April Jones.


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Voice message to attorney April Jones from opposing counsel following a successful hearing: Boy I would have jumped over the net and shook your hand today, but there was no net!


quote iconI couldn’t have gotten a better outcome.

April is awesome! She definitely knows what’s going on with everything in court. I couldn’t have gotten a better outcome.


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April and staff were wonderful. It made a difficult time of life softer while maintaining my dignity.


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Once the process became too difficult for me to navigate through I decided to seek Family Law services.

The firm is professional, positive and grounded in their approach. Everyone in the office is always willing to help and is extremely flexible, which I can say is valued by a working professional. There has always been open and prompt communication. Hannah ultimately won our case, and she did so by having strong intellect, presentation skills, and a genuine interest in the well-being of both my daughter and I. I will continue to value the relationship and expertise long after the issues are resolved.


quote iconApril is well prepared and understands the law and court processes and procedures well beyond anything I have experienced, ensuring success.

I really appreciated April’s straightforward, no-nonsense approach to settling my divorce. It was very refreshing. April is well prepared and understands the law and court processes and procedures well beyond anything I have experienced, ensuring success. I will be a customer for life.


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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.
This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit), and Stuart Wallace in Illinois.