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In Colorado, a common-law marriage is a relationship in which two parties agree to live together as husband and wife. The two of them will have a relationship that is very similar to a marital relationship, and will have that relationship in the open. In other words, the spouses, for all practical purposes, will present themselves to the world as husband and wife.

In order for you to be part of a common-law marriage in Colorado, you must both be above the age of 18 at the time of the marriage. If you are in a common-law marriage, you could be eligible for the same rights to property division and alimony, as someone who is legally married in a traditional marriage.

Remember, a critical element of a common-law marriage is that the two of you openly present yourself as husband and wife, and there is open assumption of marriage between the two of you. Don’t assume that you’re automatically eligible for common-law status if you and your partner have children.

Also remember that things could quickly go south if your relationship falters. Expect your spouse to try to avoid having to pay you alimony, or having to give you a fair deal during property division, by claiming that the two of you never lived as husband and wife at all. In the absence of any firm legal evidence of your marriage, it is very important for you to protect your rights. Talk to a Colorado family lawyer about how you can do this.

Remember, proving that you are eligible for property division, alimony, and all the other rights that people who are legally married have is more difficult for you when you are in a common-law marriage. It’s important to seek advice from an attorney.