Can I fight for half our family home if we were only common law in Colorado?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I fight for half our family home if we were only common law in Colorado?

I am not on the deed. We have 2 children
together. Have had joint bank accounts and he
has claimed me as a dependent on his taxes.
All family and friends knew us as married.

Asked on May 6, 2018 under Family Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you and he both publically held yourself out as married to other people (e.g. referred to each other as spouses or husband/wife; told people you were married; etc.) and you both agreed to live as husband and wife, then you would in fact be considered to have a common law marriage. In that event, you are entitled to the same things that someone married in a formal ceremony would be. You would be entitled to a share of the "community property" (anything acquired during marriage--e.g. money, real estate, other belongings) unless it was inherited solely by or gifted solely to one of you. You each keep your own "separate" property: inheritance, gifts, and anything you owned before your common law marriage was established. If he provides more of the family support than you, you should also be entitled to spousal support ("alimony"), at least for a few years. And whichever of the two of you gets primary custody of the children will get child support from the other. To get these things, you need to divorce him, again, the same as someone who was formally married would divorce.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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