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How do I find out if my common law wife is still married to her last common law husband ?

Fort Collins, CO |

She still has her last husband name and she claims they never had a legal divorce because they never had kids together

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Attorney answers 3


As a threshold matter, common law marriage in Colorado is established by the mutual agreement of the parties to be husband and wife, and a mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship. If she is married to a person already, she cannot also be common law married to you. There is no place to go look it up. If she was considered married before, she would need to obtain a divorce decree to be eligible to marry again.

Because it was common law, she could always dispute the fact that she was, in fact, married. If it was established and agreed upon that they were married under common law, then she would need a divorce through the courts, meaning you and her are not married under common law now.

The courts look at factors when assessing a common law marriage (to determine if it is valid) like: was there a ceremony; joint income tax returns; witnesses; spouse listed for beneficiary information, etc.

I hope this helps.

Nothing in the answer provided should be considered legal advice because all cases and facts are different and require a thorough examination of the facts by an attorney before any decisions are made.


Colorado is one of about nine states that still recognizes common law marriage. If she was married using the analysis of the previous answer, then she will need a divorce. You cannot have a marriage, common law or otherwise to a person who is legally married to someone else. The issue of whether there were children is irrelevant. Some people think if they lived together for a long time and had sex, there is a common law marriage. That is simply not the case.


If your girl friend believes she has never been divorced, then she probably has not been. However, it is possible that her prior husband filed for divorce and was not able to find her, therefore served her by notice instead of personal service and she has no knowledge of it. She may call the county where they lived, or any county where her husband now lives and ask if any case was filed.

If they were "common law" married, but only stated them between themselves, not actually taking advantage of that in any way that would constitute fraud if they now stated they were not married, then perhaps they weren't really married and you two are free to marry. If they took advantage of their marital relationship - such as being on each other's health insurance, filing taxes jointly, being on leases or other legal documents together, then they need to file for divorce. This breaks the financial connection and protects one person from being held financially liable for the other persons debts, medical care etc in the future. Presuming that they split amicably and have been separated for a while, they probably don't still have things in joint names and can file a pretty simple divorce in the county where at least one of them lives. If you have held yourself out as married prior to the time of their divorce, your marriage is null until the divorce enters. It can then become legal and binding.

If these three answers don't completely answer your question, please consult an attorney to get clarification.

This legal information is provided for general legal purposes and does not establish a client-attorney relationship. Because of the limited information provided in the question, it is difficult to be certain that Counsel is answering the question correctly. You are encouraged to seek further information from an attorney directly so that follow up questions may be asked if necessary.

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