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Colorado allows parties to enter into a common law marriage. Contrary to popular belief, there is no time requirement for a common law marriage. Therefore, you do not have to live together for seven years before you can have a common law marriage. Plus, just merely living together for seven years will not result in a common law marriage, unless parties conduct themselves as husband and wife.
A common law marriage is established by both parties agreeing to be husband and wife, evidenced by their conduct, and followed by their mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship. Therefore, if two people want to be husband and wife and therefore live together, commingle their finances as husband and wife, and hold themselves out to the public as husband and wife they will most likely have a common law marriage.
However, once you have a common law marriage, there is not a "common law divorce." Therefore, if parties want to dissolve their common law marriage they will need to go through the divorce process. Moreover, if one party wants to dispute whether there was a common law marriage, a court will have to determine whether there was a common law marriage by analyzing the parties conduct. The court will look at various factors that would support a common law marriage. For example below are some of the factors a court will consider:
- Are they living together;
- Did the woman take the man's last name;
- Do they use their "married" name for their utilities;
- Do they list each other as their spouse for insurance purposes;
- Do they file joint tax returns as husband and wife;
- Do they introduce each other to other people as husband and wife; and
- If they own property, is it titled in both of their names?
Therefore, entering into a common law marriage is very easy. However, it can only happen if each party agrees to be husband wife and then acts as husband and wife in public.