Denver, CO asked in Family Law for Colorado

Q: Lived with my ex for 18years in Denver, Co. Are we Common Law Married? He provided for financially the whole time.

I alone, took care of the house chores ie; cleaned, cooked, etc. I've always supported him emotionally and made sure he kept up with doctor visits and other personal matters. All of my mail has come to the home we shared for 18 yrs. I'm not listed on the property nor, any of the insurance policies. He created a will and listed his son as Power of Attorney. He refused to sign an affidavit of Common Law Marriage. He told me if I left him I would not get anything from him financially. Is there anything I can do to be recognized as his spouse after so many years of living together?

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2 Lawyer Answers

Tristan Kenyon Schultz

  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: It is possible. Common law marriages are very fact specific, so you will need to contact an attorney directly. The biggest hurdle for most common law marriages is that there must be evidence that the couple was held-out to the public as if they were married (i.e. would friends, family, neighbors be surprised that you are not married?).

1 user found this answer helpful

Scott D. Goldman

  • Denver, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: I don't think that these facts, in the manner in which they are presented, give rise to a common law marriage - however, you might have other causes of action under different civil theories of law, if your goal is to get to the equity in the home.

Common law marriage is defined as (1) over the age of 18; (2)holding yourselves out to the public as being married; and (3) having the intent to be married. Courts look to insurance policies, taxes, etc., but I bet when your significant other says that he wouldn't sign the certificate because he did not want to be married, then that cuts against intent. Additionally, the tax documents and insurance policies, etc., on top of other witnesses show that you held yourselves out to the public as Mr and Mrs., but as you stated, those items lack in this case.

It is advisable however, to look into other causes of action so you can be fully counseled on those issues as well.

1 user found this answer helpful

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