Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C.
Book Now

Denver (303) 395-4773 Broomfield (303) 872-8919

Breckenridge (970) 285-3077 Toll-Free (800) 746-3560

Denver (303) 395-4773 Toll-Free (800) 746-3560

Leaders in Litigation

Common Law Marriage

Colorado is one of the few states that still recognizes common-law marriages. "A common-law marriage is established by the mutual consent or agreement of the parties to be husband and wife, followed by a mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship." People v. Lucero, 747 P.2d 660, 663 (Colo. 1987). If you cohabitate (for any duration) and you both mutually and consistently hold yourselves out as "married" and have a reputation as being married, then you have a common law marriage.

The "mutual" component means that you both have the intent to be married. The marriage is agreed upon and entered into by both of you; you may or may not have had a marriage proposal, engagement, or ceremony. Courts have found that a common law marriage requires steadfast, unvarying, and unwavering representation and introduction as husband and wife. So, your family, neighbors, co-workers, children's teachers, etc. believe you are married.

The "consistent" component means that you claim a marriage exists for all purposes, and not only limited or just some advantages, occasions, or appearances. The courts have held that a common law marriage is not proven where parties hold out as married on only certain occasions where it is economically advantageous or there is a financial convenience, such as obtaining health or life insurance, but not for others, such as when filing income taxes and sharing bank accounts. CAVEAT: In view of modern trend toward cohabitation without marriage, clear proof of intent to form a marriage is required.

The test for determining whether a common law marriage exists as articulated by Lucero applies to same sex relationships, but the test should be applied consistently with the realities and norms of a same-sex relationship pre-Obergefell v. Hodges 576 U.S. ___ (2015). In re the Marriage of Hogsett, 2018 COA 176. The Supreme Court holding of Obergefell applies retroactively to Colorado same-sex couples in deciding whether common law marriage exists between them.

If you have entered into a common law marriage, then you are required to exist through an official dissolution or marriage proceeding. This will protect your interests, property, is the only way to avoid a claim to a longer duration to the marriage, and is required before you get married to someone else in the future.

Email us your case details

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Broomfield Office
390 Interlocken Crescent
Suite 350
Broomfield, CO 80021

Toll Free: 800-746-3560
Phone: 303-872-8919
Fax: 303-464-8000
Broomfield Law Office Map

Denver Office
1660 Lincoln Street
Suite 2000
Denver, CO 80264

Toll Free: 800-746-3560
Phone: 303-395-4773
Denver Law Office Map

Breckenridge Office
106 North French Street
Suite 230
Breckenridge, CO 80424

Toll Free: 800-746-3560
Phone: 970-285-3077
Breckenridge Law Office Map

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.