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A valid marriage license is required to get married in Colorado. The details for obtaining a Colorado marriage license are described below, and additional requirements may apply for minors. Colorado is also one of a small number of states that recognizes common law marriage.
Colorado Marriage Consent Laws
- With Parental Consent: Individuals 16 or 17 years old must obtain parental consent by having both parents appear when applying for the marriage license. If one or both of the parents cannot appear, they can submit an absentee application ahead of time. Individuals 15 or younger must also get a court order.
- Without Parental Consent: Individuals 18 or older may marry in Colorado without any parental consent.
Colorado Common Law Marriage
Colorado is one of a handful of states that recognizes common law marriages. Common law marriage is a doctrine that legally recognizes a couple as married even though they have not gone through a formal marriage ceremony. The requirements for a common law marriage in Colorado are (1) the couple holds itself out as husband and wife, (2) consent, (3) cohabitation, and (4) having a reputation in the community as being married. Colorado does not, however, recognize common law marriage for minors.
Colorado Marriage License
- Residency: No Colorado residency requirement.
- Tests: None.
- Identification Required: Parties must present a valid form of identification, plus a social security number.
- Appearance/Proxy: Proxy marriages are allowed in Colorado. If one party is unable to be present, that party may authorize a third party to act as proxy. Additionally, if one party cannot appear due to illness, absence, or incarceration, they may complete a notarized absentee application for the marriage license.
- Previous Marriages: Parties who were previously married must provide the date and location for the ending of the prior marriage (i.e. divorce or death), but certified proof generally is not required.
- Length of License: 30 days from the time of issuance.
- Fees: $30, payable by cash only.
- Filling Out the License/Submitting the License: In general, both parties must be present, but the absentee application described in the “Appearance/Proxy” section above does allow for one party to be absent in certain circumstances.
- Authorized Colorado Officiants: In Colorado, a couple can act as its own marriage officiant. Couples can “solemnize” their own marriage, but must fill out the proper paperwork at a county courthouse beforehand. Other parties who may solemnize a Colorado marriage include any judge, retired judge, court magistrate, or member of the clergy.