Definition of Common Law Marriage in Colorado

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There is not one specific law in the state of Colorado that establishes common law marriage in the state. There are references to common law marriage in different areas of the laws of the state. Additionally, Colorado courts recognize common law marriage. Colorado is one of about 12 states in the country that recognize common law marriage, either by law or court decisions.


Common law marriage in Colorado requires a man and woman to cohabitate. Colorado does not require a couple to live together for a particular period of time to establish this element of a common law marriage.

Mutual Agreement

Another element of common law marriage in Colorado is the mutual agreement of the parties to be married.

Public Demonstration of Marriage

The couple holds themselves out to other people as husband and wife, a married couple.

Same Sex Couples

Same sex couples in Colorado cannot enter into a common law marriage. Even if they meet the requirements of cohabitation, mutual agreement and holding themselves out as a married couple, Colorado statutes and court decisions do not permit a same sex common law marriage.


A common misconception associated with a common law marriage is that the couple can achieve a "common law divorce." In fact, if a legally valid common law marriage exists, the couple must obtain a traditional divorce through the court system.



About the Author

Mike Broemmel began writing in 1982. He is an author/lecturer with two novels on the market internationally, "The Shadow Cast" and "The Miller Moth." Broemmel served on the staff of the White House Office of Media Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science from Benedictine College and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University. He also attended Brunel University, London.

Photo Credits

  • wedding rings image by Antonio Oquias from