How long do you have to live together to be legally married in Colorado?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

In Colorado, establishing a common law marriage does not have a specific time requirement. Unlike some other states, Colorado does not have a minimum duration for cohabitation in order to be considered legally married. Instead, the focus is on certain criteria that must be met to prove the existence of a common law marriage.

To be legally married under common law in Colorado, there are three essential elements that must be satisfied:

1. Mutual Consent: Both partners must agree to enter into a marital relationship. This can be demonstrated through various means, such as publicly referring to each other as spouses, introducing themselves as married, or filing joint tax returns.

2. Cohabitation: The couple must live together and share a common residence. Simply spending time together or occasionally staying at each other’s homes may not be sufficient to establish common law marriage. There should be a clear intention to live together as a married couple.

3. Mutual and Open Assumption of a Marital Relationship: The couple must present themselves to others as being married. This can be shown through joint bank accounts, joint property ownership, sharing expenses, or having a joint lease or mortgage.

It’s important to note that simply meeting these criteria does not automatically create a common law marriage. However, if these elements are present and the couple wishes to be recognized as legally married, they can assert their common law marriage status.

It’s worth mentioning that proving a common law marriage can be challenging, especially if there is no formal documentation. While there is no specific time requirement, the longer the couple has lived together and held themselves out as married, the stronger their case becomes. But it is ultimately up to a court to determine the validity of a common law marriage based on the evidence presented.

Personal experiences and situations can vary greatly, and each case is unique. It is always recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law to understand the specific legal implications of your situation. They can provide guidance, advice, and ensure that your rights are protected.