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Divorce FAQ

What are Cohabitation Agreements?

Monday, 11 January 2010

cohabitationWith so many people “cohabitating” these days, it is no surprise that many have chosen to protect themselves with a Cohabitation Agreement.  If you are looking to establish this type of agreement in Colorado, a Colorado Springs Family Law Attorney can help.

Just like pre-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements are drafted as a way to project into the future.  By identifying likely issues that could arise in the even that a cohabitation arrangement doesn’t work out, these agreements are designed to ensure that the rights of each party are protected. 

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Only about a dozen states still recognized a “common law” marriage, and Colorado is one of them. Because it is up to Colorado courts to decide whether they will recognize a common law marriage, it can be very difficult to end this type of union and be certain that your legal rights are protected.  A Colorado Springs family law attorney will be able to help you learn more about the laws concerning marriage in Colorado, and protect your property rights in a divorce. 

Since there are no hard and fast rules outlining what constitutes no a Colorado common law marriage, or any specific laws covering it, a few basic standards are used by divorce courts to determine whether a common law marriage is valid.


These requirements are cohabitation (living in the same household), mutual agreement to be married, and public declarations of being wed to one another.  In some cases, when a common law marriage ends in divorce, it is possible that one party may try to deny that a marriage ever existed as a way to escape the equitable division of assets.  It these rare cases, the other party may need to provide the court with tangible proof of common law marriage.  In the eyes of the court, “proof” may include the filing of joint tax returns or listing the other party as a spouse/beneficiary on insurance or retirement plans.  Jointly held assets are another indicator, such as joint back accounts or property, as well as the woman taking the man’s surname.

Of all these factors, filing a joint tax return is perhaps the most important. By doing this, a couple is holding themselves out as married to the federal government under penalty of perjury.  Absent a joint tax return, another form of proof can shown in an Affidavit of Common Law Marriage. 

If you are married by the common law in Colorado, and can provide proof of this to Colorado family court, you will also enjoy all the rights and privileges granted to any other couple who petitions the state for a divorce.  A Colorado Springs family law attorney can help you work through any issues that come up as a result of your common law marriage.

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Tips for Filling out Divorce Forms

Tuesday, 29 December 2009
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As a Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney, I see many new clients who think they know a lot about divorce - until they go through it themselves.  It always amazes me how many misconceptions there are about the actual divorce process.  Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect when you file for divorce.

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Often times, you will hear people refer to a family lawyer as a divorce lawyer, but that is rarely the case.  Any reputable attorney specializing in divorce will also have a solid understanding of the entire family court system.  That’s because family law is about much more than divorce. 

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Colorado family courts work on all sorts of cases, including adoption, marriage, divorce, prenuptial agreements, annulments, property division, and parental rights.  They also handle juvenile cases, domestic violence, child abuse and abduction.

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MPatMarrisonFor over a quarter century, we have helped people during what is often the darkest time in their lives. Divorce is not easy even under the best of circumstances. For most people, family is central. Having something go wrong in the family can have a ripple effect that extends beyond the home and into other areas.

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