Hello, coworker in another department/friend of a friend/girl at my alumni happy hour meet up,
I’m sorry that I somehow brought up my relationship. I didn’t mean to. It’s not like I try to insert Chris into every conversation as soon as possible.
And then, as sometimes happens, someone asked how long we’ve been together or how we met and it comes out that we’ve been together for *gasp* ten years. And we’re OMG NOT MARRIED.
And I either make a joke about waiting until we need new towels so we can register, or I give a sort of serious answer about how we’re doing quite well despite our lack of state licensing for our relationship.
And god love ya, you thought it would be clever and cute and good conversation to exclaim, “But you’re COMMON LAW marrieeeed!”
“No. We’re not.”
“You arrrrre. Seven years! #fact”
Ugh. Here are some real facts:
You can’t get married on accident. I mean, drunk in Vegas, okay, but there’s no magical combination of joint checking plus anniversaries and a shared bathroom that makes you married.
You can only establish a common law marriage in ten states (though it would then be recognized in all 50 per the full faith and credit clause).
Colorado is one of those states, but, like the rest, one of the key, main, crucial, primary factors is “An intent of both parties freely given to become married.” Every state has an element of intent and agreement of both parties. You can’t trick someone into being common law married to you, and you can’t just fumble through life and suddenly discover you are married.
Why? Because it’s real effing marriage. It’s not some cute, funny, haha fake marriage lite. Common law married? Same thing as real married. As in, you can’t legally marry anyone else, or if it comes to it, you have to get a “real” divorce.
You know what’s also common among every state that allows marriages to be created by common law? No time constraints or requirements. Not seven years, not three, not five, not eleven. Not eleventy billion.
Maybe you didn’t know all of this. And that’s fine. But here’s a new rule:
When you and I are in disagreement about my marital status, I win. I’m right. Both because I have the facts on my side and because it’s my relationship and YOU DON’T GET A SAY.
Anyways. Yeah! This weather! I know!