While most states in the U.S. will only recognize a marriage after a formal ceremony has been conducted and a certificate of marriage has been filed, there is a minority of states in the U.S. that allow for common law marriages. The requirements are different in each state, but in most cases, a couple simply has to be living together and share finances to be considered married under common law. Some couples have found that they need to formally file for divorce after living together, even if they thought that they certainly were not married. 

Local woman was stressed from dealing with the effects of a common law marriage

A woman from Colorado Springs, who wanted to remain anonymous, shared her story with the local news after she experienced problems from a common law marriage that she did not know existed. 

She said that the experience was horrific, and it started with the simple act of moving in with her boyfriend and opening a joint bank account. She was a single mother, and the prospect of starting a new relationship was exciting. It seemed like an opportunity for more stability. They started the joint account for paying bills mostly, and they both added money as needed. 

Eventually, the couple started to argue and have problems. They decided to split up and go their separate ways a short time later. Her boyfriend moved out, then she sold her house and bought a new one a short time later. However, the man was still stalking her and taking things from her new house. When she went to get help, she was advised that she actually needed a divorce because the couple had been married at common law in Colorado. 

The attorney advised her that under Colorado law, activities such as living together and sharing finances and bank accounts can show intent that they wanted to be married. In some situations, this is enough to be married at common law. Her  ex-boyfriend was actually entitled to some of the profits from the sale of her former house and some money from her retirement accounts when their property was divided.   

Getting advice from a professional

Whether you have been formally married or not, it is beneficial to speak with a family law attorney in Colorado while going through a separation. They can give advice regarding how to proceed, and let you know if you may have met the requirements for a common law marriage without realizing it. 

Learn more about common law marriages and divorces now

Whether you are in a traditional marriage or a common law marriage, local attorneys can assist you with the process of a divorce. Use the listings on USAttorneys.com to find a divorce lawyer in your state. 

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