It is always painful to end a relationship, whether the parties were officially married or not. For some Colorado couples, a marriage certificate is never necessary to have a long-term, fulfilling relationship. When these relationships end, sometimes called common law marriages, it may still be necessary to seek legal guidance.
Colorado does currently recognize common law marriages, and if you are facing the end of your relationship, you may be wondering how you can protect your interests. Extricating finances, property and interwoven lives is not an easy process, but you do not have to walk through it alone. This is a unique situation, but you can emerge from it successfully and move on to a stronger future.
Who actually has a common law marriage?
In a common law marriage, a couple is together for an extended amount of time. The couple acts like they are married and functions as a married couple would, just without going through with an official marriage ceremony. In order for a couple to qualify as married under common law, they must meet some of the following requirements:
- Both be at least 18 years old
- Have joint bank accounts
- Co-own property
- Jointly own vehicles
- Share the same last name
- Have kids together
- Pay taxes together
When a couple who believes they are married under common law decides to formally end their relationship, commingled assets and money could make that process difficult. First, it is important to establish that the common law marriage actually exists.
In order to have a rightful claim to certain property or seek a legal solution to a dispute over what you consider to be marital property, a judge may consider the nature of your relationship and other circumstances. It can be useful to work closely with a person who knows the law and can help you pursue the best possible outcome to your unique legal situation.
Real solutions for real people
Just because you do not have a marriage certificate does not mean that you do not have rights when your common law marriage ends. Knowing your rights could be the first step in ensuring the protection of your interests throughout the entire legal process.
It could be beneficial to learn more about common law marriage laws and how you can prove your case. Whether your relationship is ending or you simply want to know more about your rights, it is always wise to know the entitlements granted to you by law.