Summaries of Published Opinions, 0321 COBJ, Vol. 50, No. 3 Pg. 84

PositionVol. 50, 3 [Page 84]

50 Colo.Law. 84

Summaries of Published Opinions

Vol. 50, No. 3 [Page 84]

Colorado Lawyer

March, 2021


January 11, 2021

2021 CO 1. No. 19SC44. In re Marriage of Hogsett and Neale. Common Law—Divorce— Marriage and Cohabitation.

The Supreme Court revisited the test for proving a common law marriage that the Court articulated over three decades ago in People v. Lucero, 747 P.2d 660 (Colo. 1987). Because many of the indicia of marriage identified in Lucero have become less reliable, particularly in light of the recognition of same-sex marriage and other social and legal changes, the Court refined the test and held that a common law marriage may be established by the mutual consent or agreement of the couple to enter the legal and social institution of marriage, followed by conduct manifesting that mutual agreement. The core inquiry is whether the parties intended to enter a marital relationship—that is, to share a life together as spouses in a committed, intimate relationship of mutual support and obligation.

In this case, the Court applied the refined Lucero test and concluded that no common law marriage existed. The Court therefore affirmed the Court of Appeals' judgment.

2021 CO 2. No. 19SC234. In re Estate of Yudkin.

Common Law—Divorce—Marriage and Cohabitation.

In this case, the Supreme Court applied the updated common law marriage test announced today in In re Marriage of Hogsett and Neale, 2021 CO 1,__P.3d__, emphasizing that a common law marriage finding depends on the totality of the circumstances, and no single factor is dispositive. The Court determined that it is unclear from the record whether the parties mutually agreed to enter into a marital relationship. Moreover, the Court noted that while the magistrate's treatment of certain evidence may have been appropriate under People v. Lucero, 747 P.2d 660 (Colo. 1987), it does not account f or the legal and social changes to marriage acknowledged in Hogsett. The Court therefore vacated the Court of Appeals' judgment and remanded with instructions to return the case to the probate court to reconsider whether the parties entered into a common law marriage under the refined test announced in Hogsett.

2021 CO 3. No. 19SC1004. In re Marriage of LaFleur and Pyfer. Common Law Marriage— Void Ab Initio—Retroactivity.

The Supreme Court reviewed whether a common law same-sex marriage entered in...

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