Whether you live in Colorado or hope to go there for a destination wedding, you need to get a marriage license. This will have to be done at the county clerk's office where you're getting married and each county may have its own requirements.
While it's wise to contact the office directly about a month or so before your wedding date, there are some statewide regulations that will help you get started so you know which documents to bring and what information you need to have ready.
Types of Unions
Colorado allows for both marriages and civil unions. Each has a separate application, though the requirements are generally the same.
Additionally, some counties and municipalities, such as Denver, allow couples to register for a committed partnership. According to the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder, this "creates a public record of your relationship," though none of the legal rights afforded to married couples or those in civil unions.
Residency and ID Requirements
Neither spouse has to be a resident of Colorado which is one reason why Colorado is a popular state for destination weddings.
In Colorado, you will need to bring government-issued ID such as your drivers' license, visa, passport, state, or military ID to verify your identity. If you have a Social Security number, that is required as well.
Additionally, you will also need to know where your parents were born, including the city and state. Knowing your mothers' maiden names may be required as well.
If one of you cannot make it to the clerk's office to apply for the license, you may be able to use an absentee affidavit instead. This must be notarized and presented within 30 days, and it's best to check with the county you're applying in to ask about the full requirements.
Colorado does not offer covenant marriages.
Waiting Period and Tests
There is no waiting period for getting married in Colorado and there are no required tests.
The fees for a marriage license may vary from county to county in Colorado, though it's generally around $30. Some counties require cash, so don't leave home without it!
If you were previously married, Colorado requires that you bring a certified copy of your divorce decree or a copy of your deceased spouse's death certificate in order to marry again. The exact dates must be included, as well as the city and state where it took place.
Any previous civil union must have been dissolved as well. You will need your former partner's name for the new license.
Additionally, if you and your partner are already in a civil union with each other, you can get married to one another. The application process and fees for a standard marriage apply.
Proxy marriages are allowed in Colorado in some circumstances. At least one person must be a Colorado resident. The absent party can only be a member of the military or a government contractor who is currently stationed outside of the state. They must be represented by the person named in their Power of Attorney form.
A marriage or civil union between first cousins is permitted in Colorado. However, you cannot marry a sibling, aunt, or uncle, even if the person is just a half-blood relative.
Common-law marriages are valid in Colorado, according to the Colorado Attorney General as the state has no statute banning them. There are a set of requirements that must be met for it to be recognized, but no time restrictions. An affidavit can be signed by the couple in the presence of a notary if you need one for insurance or other purposes.
The minimum age for common-law marriages in the state of Colorado is the same as the ages required for ceremonial marriages.
In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell vs. Hodges that it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. This legalized same-sex marriages throughout the country, though it was already valid in Colorado.
In March 2013, the Colorado legislature approved legislation allowing same-sex couples to enter civil unions as of May 1, 2013. This went a step further when the Supreme Court denied a review of same-sex marriage cases from the 4th, 7th, and 10th circuits in October 2014. At that point, gay marriages were allowed to take place in Colorado immediately.
If you are 16 or 17, in Colorado you will need the consent of both parents or your legal guardian. For anyone who is under 16, you will need an approved court order from a judge along with parental consent.
Members of the clergy, Native American tribal officials, current and retired judges, court magistrates, and public officials with solemnization powers can officiate a wedding ceremony. Out-of-state clergy need not be registered in Colorado.
Couples themselves may solemnize their own marriage (C.R.S 14-2-109) in Colorado as well. This means that you do not need an officiant or witnesses. Friends or relatives cannot solemnize a marriage unless they are ordained.
A marriage license is valid in Colorado for 63 days. This means that the license and certificate—separate forms that must be kept together—must be returned to the county clerk for recording within that time. They can be mailed in or returned in person. If you fail to meet the deadline, you will be charged late fees.
Marriage Certificate Copies
To obtain a copy of your marriage license, contact the clerk and recorder's office of the county where the license was issued. This is the official document and different than a certified marriage verification obtained through the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
State and county marriage license requirements do change often. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. It is also important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.