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LGBTQ Family Law Attorney, Rachel Catt, Presented on Colorado Common Law Marriage for Same-Sex and D



Managing Partner Rachel Catt of the Law Office of Rachel Catt, LLC, recently gave a presentation titled, “Colorado Common Law Marriage: Effective Strategies for Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples in the Current Landscape” at the 2020 Virtual Annual Family Law Institute. She was joined by fellow attorneys Ann Gushurst of Griffiths Law, P.C., and Laurence Gendelman of Gendelman Klimas, Ltd.

This presentation touched on the definition of common law marriage, how it’s applied to same-sex and different-sex couples both in the past and present and how its legal definition can complicate matters for individuals wishing to enter into a common-law marriage.

To begin, the presentation covered the People v. Lucero (1987) case which defines common law marriage as a marriage “established by the mutual consent or agreement of the parties to be husband and wife, manifested by conduct that gives evidence of the mutual understanding of the parties.” The United States adopted this definition from Great Britain and maintained that a common law marriage is valid until a state passes a law that specifically prohibits it. Interestingly, the lack of designated officiants or official locations to get married spurred an uptick in fraudulent marriage claims that have continued into the present day.

In Colorado, common-law marriage typically follows the four Cs: capacity, consent, cohabitation, and consummation. To prove that you’re in a common-law marriage, you have to prove you’ve mutually consented to be married as well as demonstrate “open behavior” confirming this marital relationship. You can prove this mutual consent by showing you cohabitate or have a general reputation as a married couple.

The presentation went on to explain how these traditional definitions are often unsatisfactory in today’s ever-changing world, especially in the case of different-sex and different-gender couples. For example, how can a couple show that they have a reputation as a married couple, or as “man and wife,” if they are a same-sex or multi-gendered couple? How can same-sex couples demonstrate their marital behavior in a community that typically frowns upon same-sex relationships? Rachel’s presentation confirmed that these are just a few of the issues that clash with the outdated legal language found in many of these laws.

How Colorado Family Law Attorney Rachel Catt Will Work For You

With nearly 20 years of experience working with all types of Colorado families, Rachel Catt has a proven track record of fiercely advocating for her clients’ rights in the courtroom. Her compassionate approach to handling family law matters has earned her a reputation as a confident advocate that guides her clients through every step of the complex family law legal process. To learn more about how Rachel Catt’s law firm can best serve you, give us a call at 303-756-3867 today.

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