Ending a Colorado Common Law Marriage

In Colorado, common law marriages are recognized under certain conditions, and ending such unions involves legal proceedings similar to traditional marriages. In this blog post, we will delve into the process of ending a common law marriage in Colorado, including the legal requirements for divorce, property division, and child custody considerations. We will also emphasize the importance of seeking professional legal guidance from a family lawyer to navigate the complexities of dissolution effectively.

Understanding Common Law Marriage in Colorado

Before discussing the process of ending a common law marriage, it’s essential to understand what constitutes a common law marriage in Colorado. In Colorado, a common law marriage is established when two individuals meet the following criteria:

  • Mutual Consent: Both parties must agree to enter into a marital relationship.
  • Cohabitation: The couple must live together as spouses.
  • Hold Themselves Out as Married: They must present themselves to others as married, such as using the same last name or referring to each other as spouses.

Once these elements are met, the couple is considered legally married under Colorado law, regardless of whether they obtained a marriage license or had a formal ceremony.

Process of Ending a Common Law Marriage

Ending a common law marriage in Colorado follows the same legal procedures as ending a formal marriage. The process typically involves filing for dissolution of marriage, commonly known as divorce, with the appropriate court. To initiate the divorce process, one spouse must file a petition for dissolution of marriage, citing grounds for divorce, such as irreconcilable differences or marital misconduct.

Once the divorce petition is filed, the other spouse must be served with a copy of the petition and has the opportunity to respond. If the spouses agree on issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody, they may proceed with an uncontested divorce. However, if there are contested issues, such as disagreement over asset division or child custody arrangements, the case may proceed to litigation, where a judge will make decisions on behalf of the parties.

Legal Requirements and Considerations

When ending a common law marriage in Colorado, several legal requirements and considerations must be addressed:

  • Division of Marital Property: Colorado is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. This includes assets acquired during the marriage, regardless of title.
  • Spousal Support: Courts may award spousal support, also known as alimony, to provide financial assistance to a spouse who is financially disadvantaged after divorce.
  • Child Custody and Support: If the couple has children, arrangements must be made for child custody, visitation, and child support. Colorado courts prioritize the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.
  • Legal Representation: Given the complexities of divorce proceedings, including common law marriages, it is crucial for individuals to seek legal representation from a knowledgeable family lawyer. An experienced attorney can provide guidance, advocate for the client’s rights, and ensure that their interests are protected throughout the divorce process.

Importance of Employing a Family Lawyer

Ending a common law marriage involves various legal intricacies, and navigating the process can be challenging without professional assistance. By enlisting the services of a skilled family lawyer, individuals can benefit from:

  • Legal Expertise: Family lawyers have in-depth knowledge of Colorado family law and can provide informed guidance on divorce proceedings.
  • Negotiation Skills: A family lawyer can negotiate on behalf of their client to achieve favorable outcomes in property division, spousal support, and child custody matters.
  • Emotional Support: Divorce can be emotionally taxing, and a compassionate family lawyer can provide support and reassurance to clients during this difficult time.

In conclusion, ending a common law marriage in Colorado involves legal procedures similar to formal marriages, including divorce filings, property division, and child custody arrangements. Seeking legal representation from a qualified family lawyer is essential to ensure that the rights and interests of all parties involved are safeguarded throughout the process. With professional guidance, individuals can navigate the dissolution of their common law marriage with confidence and clarity.



About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.