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How Does Common Law Marriage Affect Finances?

Colorado is one of the few states that recognize common law marriage. Common law marriage is what happens when a state recognizes a couple as legally married despite a lack of a marriage license. In Colorado, the terms of a common law marriage require that a couple lives together, both parties consider themselves to be married and the couple holds themselves out publicly as a married couple. Even if you do not live in a state where common law marriage is recognized, every state recognizes common law marriages from states where it is legal.

Because common law marriages are considered legal marriages in Colorado, common law married couples have the opportunity to enjoy many of the benefits afforded to civilly married couples. These benefits can include Social Security survivors and spousal benefits, employer benefits such as health insurance, exemptions from the gift tax and the ability to claim deductions for mortgage interest and children.

These benefits can help a couple save a lot of money, but there are potential downsides as well. For example, because there is no such thing as common law divorce, couples will still need to have their relationship legally dissolved, which can mean that one or both parties may be responsible for associated fees such as spousal support (or maintenance), the division of marital assets and attorney fees. Additionally, there are tax implications of common law marriage; you are able to file either separately or jointly, which, depending on your incomes, deductions and tax credits could affect your finances.

Contact a Denver Common Law Marriage Attorney

The family law attorneys at Divorce Matters have extensive history helping divorcing couples deal with the financial ramifications of their separation.