Are you thinking of moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend or your life partner and you have no intention of getting married, or you’re buying property together and moving in together? But if you have no intention of getting married, you may not know that Colorado’s a common-law marriage state, only one of eight in the country.
Hi, I’m Marie Drake of The Drake Law Firm, and I’m going to tell you today how you can avoid ending up in an inadvertent common-law marriage. First, what you may not know is that Colorado is one of eight states in the union who allows common-law marriage. What that means is that you two could move in together, and even though you have no intention of getting married, you may accidentally trigger some of the little facts that create a common-law marriage. And by the way, if you have a common-law marriage, you’re going to need a regular divorce. They’ll have to go through a divorce just like people who got married at the altar do.
To prevent any indication of a common-law marriage, if you’re moving in together, buying property and moving in together, have a lawyer draft a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement is almost like a prenup, except your intention is to never get married, and you want to lay that out in the agreement. You want to be very clear that everything stays separate, all of your property, and any increase in value of your property during this relationship. A cohabitation agreement can also protect you if you’re receiving an inheritance or you come into the relationship with some assets that might increase in value during the course of the relationship. If you have a cohabitation agreement, everything will stay separate. If you don’t, you break up and it’s a pretty bad breakup, someone could claim common-law marriage because they’re going after that increase in value of your separate assets. So if you really want to protect yourself, but you’re in love, and I know it doesn’t sound very romantic, please consider getting a cohabitation agreement. Please consider protecting yourself because this is a common-law marriage state, and I’ve seen over and over again, people who were in love breakup and then suddenly they have to get a regular divorce because one of the parties is claiming common-law marriage and the court has determined, yes, they were married. Be careful.
If you have any questions about common-law marriage and how to avoid it, and whether or not you need a cohabitation agreement, or if you, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your life partner are thinking of moving in together or buying property together, give us a call here at The Drake Law Firm. We’re standing by and we’re here to help and we definitely want to clear up any confusion about this issue.