Ending a Common Law Marriage

Ending a Common Law Marriage

Common law marriages are convenient and allow couples the benefits and responsibilities of legal marital relationships. However, just like other marriages, there are implications to ending the relationship that you should discuss with a qualified attorney.

Colorado is among the few states that recognize common law marriage. Instead of traditional legal marriage, a common law marriage is a shared agreement between two individuals. They agree that they are a married couple with the assumption of a marital relationship. In a common law marriage, two people in a relationship who are living together can still be recognized as married without a marriage certificate. Since a common law marriage isn’t traditional, what happens when one or both spouses decide the relationship has run its course? The answer can depend on many factors and is usually best answered with help from seasoned Aurora divorce lawyers.

Does Divorce Apply to Colorado Common Law Marriages?

Colorado doesn’t provide for common law marriage dissolution. Suppose a common law married couple wants to terminate their relationship legally. In that case, the same laws that apply to traditional marriages also apply to them.

However, one difference between these two types of divorces is that with a common law marriage, the court must first decide if a common law marriage existed between the spouses. Evidence that might be used to prove the status of the relationship include:

  • Insurance papers
  • Tax returns
  • Other documents, for instance, those showing that a common or hyphenated last name was used
  • Testimony of friends and family members as to whether the spouses behaved like a married couple

If one spouse is disputing the common law marital relationship, the evidence is crucial. With representation from experienced Aurora divorce lawyers, you can present evidence to the court to prove whether or not you were part of a common law marriage.

The Common Law Divorce Process

If the court establishes that a common law marriage exists, the spouses will need to go through the common law divorce process. Identical to legal marriages, issues like property division, child custody and support, visitation, spousal support, debt division, and other matters must be addressed before a divorce is granted. Both parties, with the help of their Aurora divorce attorneys, can attempt to negotiate and create a settlement that addresses all of these concerns. In the absence of a negotiated agreement, the judge may determine the matters for them, just like in a typical divorce.

Do You Need a Common Law Divorce? Call Our Aurora Mediation Lawyers Today

A common law divorce in Colorado is generally more complicated because the divorcing couple or one spouse will need to first prove that the marriage existed. If the court can’t verify that there was a common law marriage relationship, it can’t grant a divorce. Even once the marriage is established in the eyes of the court, common law divorces still include all the challenges of divorce, such as child custody and property division. Let the accomplished Aurora divorce lawyers at CNL Law Firm, PLLC help you through this often confusing process. Call (720) 370-2171 or fill out our online form to schedule your no-obligation case review. 


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