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Colorado Marriage Records

Marriage records are official documents that provide information about a marriage. They also serve as proof of a marriage ceremony between two individuals. County Clerks and Recorders are responsible for issuing and filing marriage records in Colorado. They also maintain all marriage records, such as licenses and certificates, after 1960.

Public Colorado marriage records typically include the following: 

  • Names of Parties: This consists of the full names of the spouses and maiden names (in situations that apply). 
  • Date of Marriage: This is the day, month, and year the marriage ceremony occurred.
  • Place of Marriage: This is where the marriage ceremony occurred. 
  • Names of Officiating Authority: This includes the name of the person who oversaw the marriage, such as a clerk.
  • Names of Witnesses: This includes names of people who witnessed the marriage ceremony. On some occasions, signatures of the witnesses will be required. 

Note: To find a marriage record that predates 1960, search the Colorado State Archives

What Types of Marriage Records are Available in Colorado

There are different kinds of marriage records available in Colorado. However, the two main kinds of marriage records are marriage certificates and marriage licenses. 

Marriage Certificate:

A marriage certificate is a document given to a couple upon completion of a marriage ceremony. It is issued by the county clerk where the marriage took place. A marriage certificate often contains:

  • The names of the spouses, 
  • The date of the ceremony, 
  • The location,
  • The officiating authority. 
  • The names of witnesses.

A Colorado marriage certificate is the last document issued to a couple after the solemnization of their state-approved union. A marriage can only be solemnized in Colorado once the parties have given notice of their intent to marry at a clerk’s office and submitted the necessary documents. No witnesses are required for a marriage to be solemnized.

In Colorado, marriage certificates are accompanied by marriage licenses. A couple must also return the certificate to the issuing office within 63 days of Solemnization. 

Additionally, only a few authorized people can receive certified copies of a marriage certificate. These include immediate family members (parents, adult offspring, siblings, etc) and their designated legal representatives.

Marriage License:

A marriage license is a document couples receive to allow them to perform a marriage ceremony.  It is a document obtained from the County Clerk to approve a marriage. There are two different kinds of marriage licenses issued in Colorado:

Formal Marriage License:

Formal marriage licenses are licenses spouses-to-be receive from a County Clerk as approval for a marriage. These licenses are valid for 35 days from the day of issue. Persons aged between 16 and 17 need to provide a document indicating parental consent or a court order before they can apply for a formal marriage license. 

Common Law Marriage Licenses:

Colorado is one of the eight states that fully recognizes common law marriages in the United States. A common law marriage is when two people present themselves as a couple living together with the intent to marry. Common law marriages in Colorado get the same benefits as formal marriages upon divorce, such as alimony, child support, and property division. Couples looking to register their common law marriage would need to complete an Affidavit of Common Law Marriage before a public notary.

Aside from marriage certificates and marriage licenses, other marriage records include marriage applications. Interested persons can access these at the Colorado State Archives. 

Note: Marriage licenses must be used within 35 days from the date of issue. Also, individuals aged between 16 and 17 must acquire parental consent and a court order before they can receive a marriage license. 

Are Colorado Marriage Records Public? 

Marriage records are not universally public, according to § 25-2-117 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The availability of these records is strictly restricted to authorized individuals such as the persons named in the records, their parents, siblings, representative attorneys, and other authorized governmental personnel.

How to Find Marriage Records in Colorado

To obtain marriage records, requestors must prove they meet the state’s eligibility requirements. Eligible persons can request to search for a person’s marriage record at the office of the county clerk. To conduct a marriage record search, a requestor must provide the following information:

  • The requestor's full name 
  • The license issuance and marriage dates
  • The marriage license number
  • The subject's birth date 
  • Any other details needed to facilitate the record search.

Note: The existence of a marriage record does not indicate that a person is still married. To know if someone continues to be married, interested parties can search for divorce records at the county clerk’s office.

How to Get a Marriage License in Colorado

A marriage license is a document that permits a couple to get married. They are not to be confused with a marriage certificate, which is evidence that two people are married. When applying for a marriage license, applicants must:

  1. Provide proof of identification with a date of birth. For example, a passport or a driver’s license.
  2. Complete an online marriage application form.
  3. Schedule an in-person or online appointment with the Office of the Clerk and Recorder.
  4. Pay the $30 licensing fee.

In cases where a spouse cannot attend an appointment, the other spouse must provide a completed, signed, and notarized absentee application and a Photocopy of the absent party's identification document.

Additionally, children aged between 16 and 17 will need to provide parental consent or a court order to apply for a license. Persons below 16 cannot apply for a license in Colorado. 

Note: Colorado also provides licenses for civil unions. A couple looking to make a civil union application can follow the same steps as a marriage license application, except they will be filling out a civil union application form. 

Who can obtain Marriage Records in Colorado?

According to § 25-2-117 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, only a few authorized persons can obtain marriage records. These include: 

  • The party whose name is in the marriage certificate, license or affidavit. 
  • Immediate family members of the spouses-to-be. This includes fathers, mothers, children and siblings.
  • Legal representatives of the proposed spouses. 
  • Authorized government officials such as law enforcement.

Interested parties can request certified copies of marriage records:

  • In-person
  • Via mail
  • Online

Can You Lookup Online Marriage Records For Free in Colorado

No, you cannot look up online marriage records for free in Colorado. According to the Colorado Statute, marriage records are vital records and are not public and, therefore, not searchable online. As a result, only eligible persons may request marriage records. Eligible persons include:

  • A party whose name is present on the document.
  • An immediate family member, such as a parent, sibling or adult offspring.
  • The legal representative of the spouses.
  • Authorized government officials.

Is Colorado a Common Law State for Marriage?

Colorado is a common-law marriage state. The state has recognized common law marriages as legally binding since 1877. A common law marriage is a committed partnership where the parties involved indicate they wish to get married through their actions. These actions could be permanent cohabitation, joint ownership of property or financial interdependency. 

Couples who wish to have their common-law marriages registered must complete an Affidavit of Common-Law Marriage before a public notary. They must also meet the following requirements:

  • The parties are free to enter into a marriage. Neither is married to another person.
  • Both parties are 18. Parties are required to obtain parental consent if they are between the ages of 16 and 18.

Domestic or committed partnership agreements are available to those who are looking for alternatives to common-law marriages in Colorado. Partners looking to get into this kind of agreement must be 18 years of age and live together. To apply to register as a domestic or committed partnership in Colorado, parties should: 

  1. Visit the Clerk and Recorder’s Office to schedule an appointment. Both parties must be present at the appointment
  2. Request and complete an application form.
  3. Submit the necessary documents, such as the completed application form, a valid ID card, and proof of the same address. 
  4. Pay the application fee.
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