Divorce Matters is Proud To Announce Our 2019 Scholarship Winner!
Divorce Matters is pleased to announce Ryan Shepherd as the winner of our 2019 Divorce Matters Scholarship. We received lots of applications this year, and while there were many qualified applicants, Ryan stood out among them. Our selection team was impressed by Ryan’s academic qualifications, extracurricular work, and essay response. We extend our congratulations to him for this accomplishment.

Ryan will be attending Regis University in Denver this fall. He is a Colorado transplant and an avid outdoors enthusiast who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and fishing.

Upon being notified of the award, Ryan said his day was made much brighter and shared the following quote with us:

“A seed grows with no sound, but a tree falls with huge noise. Destruction has noise, but creation is quiet. This is the power of silence. Grow Silently.”

We are honored to be able to help assist Ryan in achieving his educational goals with this scholarship.

We also thank everyone who took the time to apply this year and wish them all the best in their academic futures.
Divorce Matters Sponsors the Colorado Counseling Association's Conference
We were proud to sponsor the Colorado Counseling Association's conference this August where we were able to connect with counselors in our community to talk about what some face when going through divorce and how we can partner with them to better serve our clients. Here is Nikki, our client relations coordinator, manning our booth!
Do I Still Have Rights if We Didn't Get a Marriage License?
For various reasons, couples sometimes don’t obtain a marriage license. Perhaps they don’t want to involve the state in their relationship, or they choose to have a religious marriage but not a civil one.

Regardless of the reasons for never getting a license, these couples can end their relationships just like married people. And when they do split, one or both partners begin to wonder if they have the same rights and protections as those who actually went through with the legal formalities.

The answer is “maybe.” Colorado is one of a handful of states that recognizes common law marriage, which will effectively make the couple married.

The Requirements for Common Law Marriage
Common law marriage hails from the days when people on frontier country wanted to get married but there often wasn’t a justice of the peace anywhere around. Instead of going to find one, a couple could just move in together and start calling themselves husband and wife.

Colorado still recognizes common law marriages, though there are plenty of justices of the peace around. To qualify, your relationship must meet the following requirements:

  • Both spouses must be 18 or older
  • Both must have consented to marriage
  • The couple must live together as a married couple
  • The couple must hold itself out to the public as married
  • As you can see, there is no requirement that a couple live together for a certain amount of time. Also, living together for decades does not create a common law marriage.

One key element is whether the couple held themselves out as married. This can include identifying each other as husband and wife, owning property jointly, using the same last name, listing each other on their retirement or life insurance plans, and even filing joint income tax returns. However, if one person says, “We’re getting married eventually,” then they are usually not married.

Rights During a Divorce
Common law marriage might exist, but common law divorce does not. Instead, a couple will need a judge to grant a divorce decree. The divorce will proceed just as the divorce of a couple who obtained a marriage certificate would. However, at the outset, the judge will need to first determine if a common law marriage existed. If not, the couple does not need to be divorced.

If a judge finds the couple married, they must divide their marital property, which is generally the property they obtained while married, along with marital debts. If the couple has children, the judge will need to assign the rights and responsibilities by approving a parenting plan. A judge will also award child support. A spouse might also have a right to alimony, which is spousal support.

Contact Divorce Matters Today if You Have Questions About Divorce without Marriage License in Colorado
Even if you never got a marriage license, you may still be entitled to spousal maintenance and child support. If you think you may need to talk to an attorney about your situation, you can visit our website and contact us here, or you can call us at 720-542-6142.
This newsletter is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this newsletter should be taken as legal advice and receiving this newsletter does not constitute an attorney client relationship.