Common Law Marriage and Probate
What is common law marriage and how does it relate to probate?
Colorado recognizes the legality of common law marriage. In order to determine
if a common law marriage exists, a court will look to the mutual intent
and status of the parties, and to their conduct, not to the length of
time a couple has lived together. Have the parties held themselves out
to the community as a married couple? Have they shared bank accounts and
filed income tax returns jointly?
In Colorado, there is common law marriage but there is no common law divorce.
When a person dies who has been in a common law marriage, the surviving
spouse may be entitled to receive proceeds of that person's estate
through the laws of intestate succession. This becomes a point of contention
when there are two people who each consider themselves to be the surviving spouse.