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How to Find Colorado Marriage Records
Colorado marriage records are official documents that authorize and validate marital unions contracted in the state. There are two main types of marriage records available for the state. These are marriage licenses and marriage certificates Where and how to obtain these documents vary from one record to another. While Colorado County Clerks and Recorders file and issue marriage records, the State Department of Health offers marriage verifications.
Are Colorado Marriage Records Public?
In accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes § 25-2-117, marriage records are not universally public records in the state. Therefore, access to these records is strictly limited to legally entitled individuals such as the persons named in the records, their parents, siblings, representative attorneys, as well as other authorized governmental personnel.
Family Court records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.
What are Colorado Marriage Records?
Colorado marriage records refer to official documents bearing evidence that marriages solemnized in the state are approved by the state and legal. These records are typically generated during the processes of registration and solemnization and can be used for various personal and legal reasons. Statutorily recognized marriage records in Colorado are marriage licenses and marriage certificates. While they are different, both of these records provide the full names of the parties in a union, including the bride's maiden name.
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
What are Colorado Marriage Licenses?
Colorado marriage licenses are the initial documents needed to authorize the solemnization of marital unions in the state. Colorado law mandates persons intending to tie the knot to obtain marriage licenses to confirm their eligibility. To be eligible for a marriage license, Colorado requires both parties to be:
- 18 years or older
- Not related by blood
- Not currently married
The State of Colorado allows formal marriages, proxy marriages, civil unions, and common law marriages. Marriage licenses are prerequisites for all other forms of marriage except common law unions.
How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Colorado
To perform a name change after marriage in Colorado, the first step is to obtain a marriage certificate or court order. Next, parties should register the new name with the Social Security Administration by completing a form-SS5 and providing necessary documents. Registrants will receive a new social security card with the new name imprinted on it.
Couples must also notify the Colorado Department of Revenue by registering with a local Colorado DMV. They will be required to provide two proof of address documents, a certified copy of their marriage certificate, and their new social security card.
What are Colorado Marriage Certificates?
A Colorado marriage certificate is the final document issued after the solemnization of a state-licensed union. This record provides the following information:
- Names of the parties involved in the union
- County where the marriage occurred
- Where and when the marriage ceremony occurred
- Officiant’s signature
Usually, Colorado marriage certificates come attached to marriage licenses. As such, new couples are required to return the certificates to the offices of issuance within 63 days of solemnization.
There are various reasons why married people may be required to provide copies of their marriage certificates in Colorado. Such reasons include name changes, taking out insurance covers, employment transfers, opening joint bank accounts, applying for mortgages and loans, joint property ownership, social security benefits, dual citizenship, and other legal and personal purposes.
Colorado only allows the parties named in a marriage record, their immediate family members (parents, adult offsprings, siblings etc), and their designated legal representatives to request copies of a marriage certificate.
Colorado Formal Marriage Licenses
Simply put, formal marriage licenses are official documents obtained from the various County Clerk and Recorder offices by prospective couples seeking marriage approvals. Usually, these licenses are valid for 35 days from the dates of issuance. Therefore, applicants are advised to determine their preferred wedding dates before obtaining their marriage licenses. Minors that are between 16 and 17 years need parental consents and/or court orders to obtain marriage licenses.
Colorado Common Law Marriage Licenses
Colorado is one of the few states in the U.S where common law marriages are still legally authorized. However, common law marriage practices in the state are unique because, unlike other states, the benefits of alimony, child support, and property division are intact following a divorce. Prospective couples considering this type of marriage will be required to complete an Affidavit of Common Law Marriage before a public notary.
How Do I Get a Marriage License in Colorado?
Most County Clerk and Recorder Offices in the State of Colorado issue marriage licenses to applicants only when requested in person. Usually, both parties are required to be present unless the marriage in consideration is by proxy.
Proxy marriage is a form of marriage in which one of the parties is absent. Eligible persons for this form of marriage include members of the US military and paramilitary personnel stationed abroad or out-of-state. Even then, the available party must be a resident of Colorado and must present an absentee affidavit form which contains the notarized signature of the absentee.
Generally, documents needed to obtain a marriage license in Colorado include a copy of each party’s birth certificate and state-issued identity card (driver's license, utility bill, voter’s card, etc). Applicants must also pay a marriage license fee. The standard cost of procuring a marriage license is $30 across all counties in the state.
Some Colorado counties provide downloadable application forms online. Visit the county pages on the Colorado Secretary of State website to see where these forms are available. Save time when applying for a marriage license by printing and completing this form before visiting the particular office of interest.
How Do I Get a Marriage Certificate in Colorado?
Request for a Colorado marriage certificate at the County Clerk and Recorder of the particular county where the marriage license was issued. Generally, these offices allow the public to submit their requests:
- In person
- By mail
Visit the County Clerk and Recorder Office, during regular business hours, in the county where the marriage of interest was recorded. Bring along the appropriate fees and documents. Colorado counties charge $1.25 for the first certified copy of a marriage certificate. Each additional copy of the same record ordered at the same time costs 25 cents. Contact the County Clerk and Recorder Office to enquire about their current rates.
Before submitting a mail request, contact the County Clerk and Recorder Office of interest to ask if they accept requests for marriage certificates by mail. Where this service is available, requesters will be required to send written applications, copies of acceptable IDs, and applicable fees.
Most counties and major cities in Colorado accept online requests for copies of marriage certificates. To submit an application online, visit the website of the county or city where the marriage record of interest was created. Find the webpage for the city or county’s Clerk and Recorder and then navigate to the marriage record order page.