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Colorado Marriage Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

While many couples follow a traditional path that includes asking for parental blessings, proposing, public declaration of the engagement, wedding planning, and then a ceremony and celebration, none of this is required to be legally married in Colorado.

Planning for marriage provides a lot to think about, even if you forgo the wedding and opt to head right for the courthouse. For some engaged couples, checking in with the laws that surround Colorado marriages may not always be top of mind. However, knowing what to expect and what is required for your marriage to be legal can help the process move smoothly and quickly.

Legal Requirements for Marriage in Colorado

Colorado marriage laws are basic, but getting a license on time can be a stumbling block if you are not prepared. The information below outlines the laws and requirements you can expect to encounter throughout the marriage process.

Statutes

Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14 Domestic Matters:

How to Get Married

 

To get married, you must carefully follow a few steps:

  1. Apply for a marriage certification at your County Clerk’s office
  2. If approved, you will receive a marriage license or “certificate” in the mail
  3. Both parties must appear within 35 days to sign the license (if one party cannot be present at the ceremony, you can use an absentee application)
  4. The license is solemnized by yourselves, a current or retired judge, court magistrate, someone licensed to officiate weddings, or officiants who are part of religious denominations or Indian nations (Section 14-2-109)
  5. Mail the solemnized certificate to your county clerk within 60 days (daily late fees apply after 60 days)

You do not need to have a witness during this process. It is legal for just you and your significant other to sign the license. Also, a name change is not required at any time after the marriage, but if you do want to change your name, you will need to follow the local name change process.

Legal Requirements for Marriage

According to Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14 Section 14-2-106, an individual must:

  • Consent to be married;
  • Be mentally able to make the decision;
  • Not be incapacitated by drugs or alcohol;
  • Not be threatened, forced, or dared to get married;
  • Be over the age of 18 or have parental consent;
  • Not be married to anyone else at the time; and
  • Not be a close relative of the other person (i.e., no closer than first cousins)

You will need to provide certain information when you apply for a marriage license at your local county court (Section 14-2-105):

  • Your full legal name;
  • Legal age;
  • Social Security number;
  • Where you were born;
  • Current residences of you and your future spouse;
  • Current residences of your parents or guardians; and
  • Date and location of the court that issued any past divorces.

Next, you will pay $30 for the license application fee. The marriage license is valid for 35 days after you receive it from the courts, so your wedding needs to take place within that timeframe, or you will need to get a new license.

Common Law Marriage

The state of Colorado recognizes common law marriage (Section 14-2-1095), which is a marriage in every way except for the marriage license. Both individuals must:

  • Be over 18 years old;
  • Live mutually and openly as a married couple; and
  • Live together – there is no official requirement for how long you live together so it may be up to the court’s discretion.

The courts regard “living like a married couple” to be actions like having the same last name, sharing finances, referring to each other as spouses, or planning to get married in the future.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Colorado Marriage Laws: Related Resources

Learn More About Colorado Marriage Laws

If you have questions about getting married or what qualifies as a common law marriage, an attorney can help address your concerns. Find a marriage law attorney who understands the nuances of Colorado law and how to protect your best interests in your marriage.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.