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What is a common-law marriage in Colorado?

Some people in Colorado might have heard about the story of Iggy Azalea being served with divorce papers. That shocked some of her fans simply because she wasn't married. While that story didn't happen in Colorado, it does bring up an important aspect of relationships in Colorado since Colorado is one of the states that fully recognizes common law marriage.

What is common law marriage?

Common law marriage occurs when people who aren't traditionally married are married because they meet four basic requirements. A common law marriage gives the couple the same rights and responsibilities of a traditional marriage.

What are the requirements for a common law marriage?

A common law marriage can occur only between people who have the legal right to marry. This means they can't be married to someone else, they have to be adults and they have to be of sound mind. The legal status of the people is the first requirement of a common law marriage.

The second requirement is that the couple must agree to be married. This can be as simple as declaring to each other that you want to be husband and wife.

The third requirement is that you both have to live together as husband and wife. This means sharing a home in the same manner as a married couple would.

The final requirement is that you represent yourselves as a married couple. This can be as simple as calling your significant other your husband or wife. It can also mean opening a joint bank account or applying for credit together.

How is a common law marriage dissolved?

This is where things get interesting because a common law marriage goes through a normal divorce to dissolve the relationship just like a traditional marriage would. People in a common law marriage must familiarize themselves with laws pertaining to property division and other aspects of divorce so they can ensure that their rights are protected throughout the divorce process.

Source: FindLaw, "Common Law Marriage: The Basics" Nov. 01, 2014

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